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HISTORY

Some contemporary sources call Baroness de Meyer's story, whose original title was "Clothes and Treachery," a "photoplay," written with von Stroheim, while others imply that it was a short story that von Stroheim adapted. Most sources credit von Stroheim as both co-writer and scenarist. De Meyer was a "London society woman" and the goddaughter of Edward VII, who also wrote short stories for various magzines. Clothes and Treachery and The Woman in the Plot were working titles for the film. Modern sources also mention His Great Success and The Charge Account as working titles. Writing and filming took place between Sep and Dec 1919 and editing required another four months. Tarkington Baker, the general manager of Universal, viewed a thirteen reel rough cut of the film in Feb 1920. According to modern sources, von Stroheim designed the settings and was closely involved with the editing. Modern sources state that Grant Whytock compiled the rough cut, and list "Jeanne Spencer" as an assistant director, not as an editor, as she is called in trade news items. Although the film was reviewed in Apr 1920, and had previews in various cities before Aug, it was not released generally until 30 Aug 1920. It opened in New York and Chicago on 8 Aug 1920. According to a pre-production news item, von Stroheim was to star in the production, and Lillie Leslie was to have a supporting role. Modern sources list the following additional credits: art titles, J. H. Buffum; additional photography, Howard Oswald; second camera, William Daniels; assistant directors, Edward Sowders, Jack Proctor and Jeanne ... More Less

Some contemporary sources call Baroness de Meyer's story, whose original title was "Clothes and Treachery," a "photoplay," written with von Stroheim, while others imply that it was a short story that von Stroheim adapted. Most sources credit von Stroheim as both co-writer and scenarist. De Meyer was a "London society woman" and the goddaughter of Edward VII, who also wrote short stories for various magzines. Clothes and Treachery and The Woman in the Plot were working titles for the film. Modern sources also mention His Great Success and The Charge Account as working titles. Writing and filming took place between Sep and Dec 1919 and editing required another four months. Tarkington Baker, the general manager of Universal, viewed a thirteen reel rough cut of the film in Feb 1920. According to modern sources, von Stroheim designed the settings and was closely involved with the editing. Modern sources state that Grant Whytock compiled the rough cut, and list "Jeanne Spencer" as an assistant director, not as an editor, as she is called in trade news items. Although the film was reviewed in Apr 1920, and had previews in various cities before Aug, it was not released generally until 30 Aug 1920. It opened in New York and Chicago on 8 Aug 1920. According to a pre-production news item, von Stroheim was to star in the production, and Lillie Leslie was to have a supporting role. Modern sources list the following additional credits: art titles, J. H. Buffum; additional photography, Howard Oswald; second camera, William Daniels; assistant directors, Edward Sowders, Jack Proctor and Jeanne Spencer. Sources vary on the length of the film, listing it as six and eight reels as well as seven. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
ETR
21 Feb 20
p. 1206.
ETR
17 Apr 20
p. 2290.
MPN
6 Mar 20
pp. 2343-44.
MPN
7 Mar 19
p. 68.
MPN
17 Apr 20
p. 3559.
MPN
21 Aug 20
p. 1512, 1524
MPN
28 Aug 20
p. 1720, 1764
MPW
17 Apr 20
p. 461.
MPW
20 Sep 19
p. 1790.
MPW
27 Dec 19
p. 1167.
New York Morning Telegraph
11 Apr 1920.
---
New York Times
9 Aug 20
p. 6.
Variety
13 Aug 20
p. 36.
Wid's
11 Apr 20
p. 2.
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
The Woman in the Plot
Clothes and Treachery
Release Date:
30 August 1920
Copyright Claimant:
Universal Film Mfg. Co., Inc.
Copyright Date:
3 September 1920
Copyright Number:
LP15513
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in reels):
7
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Grace Goodwright, the wife of Warren Goodwright, a struggling playwright living in Paris, is an extravagant woman accustomed to living beyond her means. Grace is in arrears to dressmaker Madame Malot, who suggests that wealthy Rex Strong could provide the solution to Grace's financial ills. Strong offers Grace a loan in exchange for sexual favors. When Grace refuses, Madame Malot becomes enraged at the prospect of losing her money and attempts to ensnare Grace in a blackmail scheme. Warren reads the account of the scandal in a Paris journal in which no names are mentioned and decides to write a play around the main situation. The play becomes a great success, but all Paris is laughing at Warren, who is unaware that his main character is his wife. Upon discovering the true story, Warren decides to kill Strong but at the last minute relents, convinced of his wife's ... +


Grace Goodwright, the wife of Warren Goodwright, a struggling playwright living in Paris, is an extravagant woman accustomed to living beyond her means. Grace is in arrears to dressmaker Madame Malot, who suggests that wealthy Rex Strong could provide the solution to Grace's financial ills. Strong offers Grace a loan in exchange for sexual favors. When Grace refuses, Madame Malot becomes enraged at the prospect of losing her money and attempts to ensnare Grace in a blackmail scheme. Warren reads the account of the scandal in a Paris journal in which no names are mentioned and decides to write a play around the main situation. The play becomes a great success, but all Paris is laughing at Warren, who is unaware that his main character is his wife. Upon discovering the true story, Warren decides to kill Strong but at the last minute relents, convinced of his wife's innocence. +

Legend
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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.