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HISTORY

On 23 Feb 1923, FD reported that actress Mary Pickford had “abandoned” work on a film based on the Faust legend to instead take on leading roles in Rosita and Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall (1924, see entry). German director Ernst Lubitsch would direct Rosita, marking his American feature film debut. News items in the 31 Mar 1923 Motion Picture News and 30 Mar 1923 FD anticipated that the production would be the “most expensive of [Pickford’s] career,” with castle sets more grand than those built for Robin Hood (1922, see entry), and a replica of the city of Toledo, Spain, constructed on a rooftop at the Pickford-Fairbanks studios in Los Angeles, CA.
       Principal photography began in mid-Mar 1923, according to a 13 Mar 1923 FD brief. Although Motion Picture News listed actress Clare Eames among the cast, a later article in the 2 Jun 1923 Moving Picture World did not include her as one of the “all-star” players. Instead, the trade journal indicated that Irene Rich, whose involvement in Rosita had not previously been mentioned, would play the role of “The Queen” [of Spain]. Eames, it should be noted, had been cast as “Queen Elizabeth” in Pickford’s other project, Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall.
       Production on Rosita was still underway when a 1 May 1923 FD news brief noted that the film might be released under the title, The Street Singer. Various contemporary sources adopted this new title in their reports on the film, but ultimately, filmmakers reverted ... More Less

On 23 Feb 1923, FD reported that actress Mary Pickford had “abandoned” work on a film based on the Faust legend to instead take on leading roles in Rosita and Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall (1924, see entry). German director Ernst Lubitsch would direct Rosita, marking his American feature film debut. News items in the 31 Mar 1923 Motion Picture News and 30 Mar 1923 FD anticipated that the production would be the “most expensive of [Pickford’s] career,” with castle sets more grand than those built for Robin Hood (1922, see entry), and a replica of the city of Toledo, Spain, constructed on a rooftop at the Pickford-Fairbanks studios in Los Angeles, CA.
       Principal photography began in mid-Mar 1923, according to a 13 Mar 1923 FD brief. Although Motion Picture News listed actress Clare Eames among the cast, a later article in the 2 Jun 1923 Moving Picture World did not include her as one of the “all-star” players. Instead, the trade journal indicated that Irene Rich, whose involvement in Rosita had not previously been mentioned, would play the role of “The Queen” [of Spain]. Eames, it should be noted, had been cast as “Queen Elizabeth” in Pickford’s other project, Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall.
       Production on Rosita was still underway when a 1 May 1923 FD news brief noted that the film might be released under the title, The Street Singer. Various contemporary sources adopted this new title in their reports on the film, but ultimately, filmmakers reverted back to Rosita, scheduling it for a 3 Sep 1923 release at the Lyric theater in New York City. “Top” tickets would cost $1.65, according to a 30 Aug 1923 FD item. The picture received positive reviews, and critics praised Lubitsch’s contribution as a director, in particular. The 9 Sep 1923 FD declared, “It will pay every American director to go and see [Lubitsch’s] work” in Rosita.
       The Jul 1923 AmCin reported that Paul Perry worked as a cameraman on part of the picture.
       Voted one of the “Top Best Features” of 1923 by the 1929 Film Daily Year Book, as reported in the Feb 7, 1930 FD.
       A reconstructed and restored print of Rosita, minus a lost ten-minute reel, was screened 1 Jun 2018 at the 23rd Annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival in San Francisco, CA. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
American Cinematographer
Jul 1923
p. 14.
Film Daily
23 Feb 1923
p. 1.
Film Daily
13 Mar 1923
p. 1.
Film Daily
30 Mar 1923.
---
Film Daily
1 May 1923.
---
Film Daily
30 Aug 1923.
---
Film Daily
9 Sep 1923
p.3.
Film Daily
7 Feb 1930
p. 8.
Motion Picture News
31 Mar 1923.
---
Moving Picture World
2 Jun 1923
p. 417.
Variety
6 Sep 1923
p. 22.
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Street Singer
Release Date:
3 September 1923
Production Date:
began mid March 1923
Copyright Claimant:
Mary Pickford Co.
Copyright Date:
17 October 1923
Copyright Number:
LP19505
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in feet):
8,800
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

The King of Spain falls in love with Rosita, a Spanish street singer, who in turn loves Don Diego, a penniless nobleman who defends her when the guards arrest her for singing a song lampooning the lusty king. Rosita and Don Diego are imprisoned; Don Diego is sentenced to die; and Rosita is summoned by the king and tempted with gifts of clothing and a luxurious villa. The king arranges a marriage between Rosita and Don Diego--both blindfolded--making Rosita a countess before she is to become a widow. The queen saves Don Diego's life by putting blank cartridges in the executioner's guns. Don Diego, feigning death, is brought to Rosita's villa and jumps up to earn his pardon by saving the king just as the bereaved Rosita raises her knife to stab ... +


The King of Spain falls in love with Rosita, a Spanish street singer, who in turn loves Don Diego, a penniless nobleman who defends her when the guards arrest her for singing a song lampooning the lusty king. Rosita and Don Diego are imprisoned; Don Diego is sentenced to die; and Rosita is summoned by the king and tempted with gifts of clothing and a luxurious villa. The king arranges a marriage between Rosita and Don Diego--both blindfolded--making Rosita a countess before she is to become a widow. The queen saves Don Diego's life by putting blank cartridges in the executioner's guns. Don Diego, feigning death, is brought to Rosita's villa and jumps up to earn his pardon by saving the king just as the bereaved Rosita raises her knife to stab him. +

GENRE
Genre:
Sub-genre:
Historical


Subject
Subject (Major):

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.