Coincidence (1921)

Romantic comedy | May 1921

Director:

Chet Withey

Producer:

Robert Harron

Cinematographer:

Louis Bitzer

Editor:

Chet Withey

Production Company:

Metro Pictures Corp.
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HISTORY

Former D. W. Griffith child star Robert "Bobby" Harron, heading his own production company called Robert Harron Productions, signed a four-picture deal with Metro Pictures Corp., the 26 Jun 1920 Exhibitors Herald announced. His first film, based on a Howard E. Morton story published in Cosmopolitan Magazine several years earlier, would “bear the tentative title” Coincidence. Filming was set to take place at D. W. Griffith’s studio in Mamaroneck, NY, although some location work would be done around New York City, including a scene on a Fifth Avenue bus, as mentioned in the 8 May 1921 Wid’s Daily review of the film.
       According to the 3 Jul 1920 Wid’s Daily, Coincidence director Chet Withey was “now at work” at D. W. Griffith’s studio in Mamaroneck, NY. A month later, the 9 Aug 1920 Wid’s Daily reported that Withey was editing and titling Coincidence at Mamaroneck Studios. A 25 Oct 1920 release was scheduled.
       On 1 Sep 1920, Robert Harron shot himself in the chest with his own gun at the Hotel Seymour in New York City, where he was set to attend the premiere of his mentor D.W. Griffith’s Way Down East (1920, see entry). The Nov 1920 Motion Picture Classic called it a “tragic accident” in which a loaded pistol in one of the actor’s pockets discharged. He died several days later, on 5 Sep 1920, leaving his latest film project, The Brass Bowl, incomplete.
       Metro postponed the release of Coincidence for another six months, and the poster for the film, which ran ... More Less

Former D. W. Griffith child star Robert "Bobby" Harron, heading his own production company called Robert Harron Productions, signed a four-picture deal with Metro Pictures Corp., the 26 Jun 1920 Exhibitors Herald announced. His first film, based on a Howard E. Morton story published in Cosmopolitan Magazine several years earlier, would “bear the tentative title” Coincidence. Filming was set to take place at D. W. Griffith’s studio in Mamaroneck, NY, although some location work would be done around New York City, including a scene on a Fifth Avenue bus, as mentioned in the 8 May 1921 Wid’s Daily review of the film.
       According to the 3 Jul 1920 Wid’s Daily, Coincidence director Chet Withey was “now at work” at D. W. Griffith’s studio in Mamaroneck, NY. A month later, the 9 Aug 1920 Wid’s Daily reported that Withey was editing and titling Coincidence at Mamaroneck Studios. A 25 Oct 1920 release was scheduled.
       On 1 Sep 1920, Robert Harron shot himself in the chest with his own gun at the Hotel Seymour in New York City, where he was set to attend the premiere of his mentor D.W. Griffith’s Way Down East (1920, see entry). The Nov 1920 Motion Picture Classic called it a “tragic accident” in which a loaded pistol in one of the actor’s pockets discharged. He died several days later, on 5 Sep 1920, leaving his latest film project, The Brass Bowl, incomplete.
       Metro postponed the release of Coincidence for another six months, and the poster for the film, which ran on the cover of the 8 May 1921 Wid’s Daily, showed Harron’s image but did not mention his name. It boasted simply: “With an All-Star Cast.” Inside the trade paper, a review of Coincidence did not list cast members, and Harron, despite producing and starring in the film, was not mentioned by name until the third paragraph, and only once: “Robert Harron does good work as Billy Jenks.” Reviews in the 14 May 1921 Moving Picture World and 21 May 1921 Motion Picture News listed him in passing as the “late” Bobby Harron, although the former magazine suggested to theater owners to use his death as an “exploitation catchline” by touting the film as “the last comedy he ever made.” Only the 21 May 1921 Exhibitors Herald dealt directly with Harron’s death in its film review: “The average audience will get immediately the fact that it is unusual to have the principal part played by an unannounced actor, as has been in Harron’s case….In many similar cases pictures have played to increased receipts when it was known that it was the last of the star’s features.” The review in the 21 May 1921 Motion Picture News disagreed, saying that Harron’s “place on the screen was not secure enough to make most people remember him. It is safe to say that a majority have never heard of his death.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Exhibitors Herald
26 Jun 1920
p. 61.
Exhibitors Herald
21 May 1921
p. 62.
Motion Picture Classics
Sep 1920
p. 64.
Motion Picture Classics
Nov 1920
p. 51.
Motion Picture News
19 Jul 1920
p. 427.
Motion Picture News
31 Jul 1920
p. 960.
Motion Picture News
21 May 1921
p. 3229.
Moving Picture World
14 May 1921
p. 209.
Wid's Daily
3 Jul 1920
p. 4.
Wid's Daily
9 Aug 1920
p. 3.
Wid's Daily
8 May 1921
p. 1, 15.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCER
WRITERS
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
FILM EDITOR
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on a short story by Howard E. Morton (Cosmopolitan Magazine, publication date unknown).
DETAILS
Release Date:
May 1921
Production Date:
June--July 1920
Copyright Claimant:
Metro Pictures
Copyright Date:
13 May 1921
Copyright Number:
LP16561
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in feet):
5,500
Length(in reels):
5
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Billy Jenks, a young bank clerk in a small town, goes to New York City in search of greater opportunity and becomes a cashier in a department store. When several dollar bills he is counting are blown out a window, he chases after them and, by coincidence, finds the money at the feet and on the hat of stenographer Phoebe Howard. They become so romantically overwhelmed that they neglect their jobs and are soon fired. Billy wires his aunt for money, but the next day, when he throws his alarm clock out the window, it hits, by coincidence, the head of a lawyer who has come to tell Billy that his aunt has died and left him $100,000 in thousand-dollar bills, which he duly presents to the stunned heir. When Billy gives Phoebe the news on a Fifth Avenue bus, con man “Handsome Harry” Brent overhears their conversation, introduces himself, and arranges to "help" them by investing the money the next day. However, Billy’s money is stolen by John Carter, who is desperately in debt, and Billy, by coincidence, mistakes Stephen Fiske, Carter’s creditor, for the thief. During a series of chases, notes and money are exchanged to the satisfaction of all parties, leaving Billy and Phoebe to get ... +


Billy Jenks, a young bank clerk in a small town, goes to New York City in search of greater opportunity and becomes a cashier in a department store. When several dollar bills he is counting are blown out a window, he chases after them and, by coincidence, finds the money at the feet and on the hat of stenographer Phoebe Howard. They become so romantically overwhelmed that they neglect their jobs and are soon fired. Billy wires his aunt for money, but the next day, when he throws his alarm clock out the window, it hits, by coincidence, the head of a lawyer who has come to tell Billy that his aunt has died and left him $100,000 in thousand-dollar bills, which he duly presents to the stunned heir. When Billy gives Phoebe the news on a Fifth Avenue bus, con man “Handsome Harry” Brent overhears their conversation, introduces himself, and arranges to "help" them by investing the money the next day. However, Billy’s money is stolen by John Carter, who is desperately in debt, and Billy, by coincidence, mistakes Stephen Fiske, Carter’s creditor, for the thief. During a series of chases, notes and money are exchanged to the satisfaction of all parties, leaving Billy and Phoebe to get married. +

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

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