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HISTORY

The 26 Aug 1925 FD announced that actress Marion Davies at Cosmopolitan Productions, had renegotiated her contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (M-G-M), and would appear in four M-G-M pictures over the next fourteen months. The Red Mill, based on the 1906 stage play with music by Victor Herbert and book and lyrics by Henry Martyn Blossom, was under consideration as one of those productions. The 12 May 1926 Var indicated that the play was still in theaters at that time.
       The 27 Jan 1926 Var confirmed that Davies would star in The Red Mill for M-G-M. Irving Thalberg was listed as the film’s supervisor, and Marshall Neilan was attached to direct. However, production delays made it impossible for Neilan to remain with the project, according to the 10 Mar 1926 Var and the 20 Mar 1926 Motion Picture News.
       The 2 Feb 1926 FD noted that Frances Marion would write the adaptation. Twenty-two days later, Var stated that Marion Davies was soon headed to New York City to purchase costumes for The Red Mill.
       Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle was announced as the new director in the 3 Mar 1926 Var, and production was expected to begin in May 1928. Arbuckle used the pseudonym “William Goodrich” for his directing credit. Modern sources indicated that Arbuckle’s close friend, Marion Davies, fought for his participation, despite his lack of experience directing feature length films. Arbuckle had directed countless short films beginning in 1914. According to the 3 May 1926 FD, John Robertson had also been hired to direct before the job ... More Less

The 26 Aug 1925 FD announced that actress Marion Davies at Cosmopolitan Productions, had renegotiated her contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (M-G-M), and would appear in four M-G-M pictures over the next fourteen months. The Red Mill, based on the 1906 stage play with music by Victor Herbert and book and lyrics by Henry Martyn Blossom, was under consideration as one of those productions. The 12 May 1926 Var indicated that the play was still in theaters at that time.
       The 27 Jan 1926 Var confirmed that Davies would star in The Red Mill for M-G-M. Irving Thalberg was listed as the film’s supervisor, and Marshall Neilan was attached to direct. However, production delays made it impossible for Neilan to remain with the project, according to the 10 Mar 1926 Var and the 20 Mar 1926 Motion Picture News.
       The 2 Feb 1926 FD noted that Frances Marion would write the adaptation. Twenty-two days later, Var stated that Marion Davies was soon headed to New York City to purchase costumes for The Red Mill.
       Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle was announced as the new director in the 3 Mar 1926 Var, and production was expected to begin in May 1928. Arbuckle used the pseudonym “William Goodrich” for his directing credit. Modern sources indicated that Arbuckle’s close friend, Marion Davies, fought for his participation, despite his lack of experience directing feature length films. Arbuckle had directed countless short films beginning in 1914. According to the 3 May 1926 FD, John Robertson had also been hired to direct before the job was assigned to Arbuckle.
       Over one month after Arbuckle was hired, however, the 21 Apr 1926 Var reported that The Red Mill had been “called off indefinitely” due to Davies’s indecision to star in the picture. The 22 Apr 1928 FD announced that Davies was still in New York City, but was scheduled to return to CA in four days.
       On 1 May 1926, Motion Picture News stated that principal photography on The Red Mill was finally set to begin that week at the M-G-M Studios in Culver City, CA. The 5 May 1926 Var confirmed that production began a few days earlier.
       The 3 May 1926 FD added Tully Marshall and Otis Harlan to the cast list, and the 16 May 1926 FD added Gwen Lee and George Fawcett. On 5 Jun 1926, Moving Picture World reported that Tully Marshall would play “Timothy” and George Fawcett would play the “Burgomaster.” However, J. Russell Powell later replaced Fawcett in that role, as credited in the 16 Feb 1927 Var review.
       According to the 23 May 1926 FD, Davies and crew had just returned from location shooting in the Verdugo Mountains near Glendale, CA. Four weeks later, the 18 Jun 1926 FD announced that the crew had spent several days filming exteriors in the Verdugo Mountains, and were currently filming interiors at the M-G-M Studios, indicating a possible second return to the location.
       The 7 Jul 1926 Var reported that M-G-M had hired two additional directors, King Vidor and Ulrich Busch, to assist Arbuckle in completing filming in a timely manner. Only minor scenes would receive assistance, and Arbuckle would personally direct any additional filming involving Marion Davies. The majority of the star’s scenes had reportedly been completed, and Vidor would handle the remaining interiors. The use of additional directors would lessen the duration and costs of keeping hundreds of background actors assigned to the production for an unlimited amount of time. The 11 Jul 1926 FD noted that the several hundred background actors were used in the film’s ice skating sequences, which were filmed indoors on the M-G-M stages using artificial ice. A complete Dutch village was also recreated at the studio.
       As of 20 Aug 1926, The Red Mill was still in production, according to that day’s FD. On 24 Sep 1926, FD announced that the picture was recently completed.
       The 3 Dec 1926 FD stated that Joe Farnham was currently titling the film. The 28 Jan 1927 Motion Picture News noted that writer John Grey had contributed “comedy construction” to the picture.
       Although the 30 Jul 1926 FD listed an expected release date of 12 Dec 1926, the 7 Jan 1927 Motion Picture News indicated that The Red Mill would be released sometime that month.
       The film opened in several Los Angeles theaters, including the Loew’s State Theatre and the Criterion Theatre on 8 Feb 1927, as indicated in the 9 Feb 1927 Var. First week totals from the Criterion were reported in the 16 Feb 1927 Var as a “very poor” $4,300.
       The 16 Feb 1927 Var stated that the picture opened in New York City at the Capitol Theatre on 12 Feb 1927. A news item from the Capitol Theatre printed in the issue announced that The Red Mill was “the worst picture this house has held for a year and has every chance of still holding that honor next Dec. 31.”
       Reviews were also negative. Var deemed the picture “an idiotic screen morsel,” citing the lack of story and pointing the blame at Arbuckle’s direction. The 20 Feb 1927 FD called it a “weak screen vehicle” despite the appeal of Marion Davies. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
26 Aug 1925
p. 1.
Film Daily
2 Feb 1926
p. 4.
Film Daily
22 Apr 1926
p. 2.
Film Daily
3 May 1926
p. 1.
Film Daily
16 May 1926
p. 7.
Film Daily
23 May 1926
p. 24.
Film Daily
18 Jun 1926
p. 7.
Film Daily
11 Jul 1926
p. 12.
Film Daily
30 Jul 1926
p. 5.
Film Daily
20 Aug 1926
p. 11.
Film Daily
24 Sep 1926
p. 14.
Film Daily
3 Dec 1926
p. 2.
Film Daily
20 Feb 1927
p. 10.
Motion Picture News
20 Mar 1926
p. 1284.
Motion Picture News
1 May 1926
p. 2020.
Motion Picture News
7 Jan 1927
p. 46.
Motion Picture News
28 Jan 1927
p. 310.
Moving Picture World
5 Jun 1926
p. 466.
Moving Picture World
2 Oct 1926
p. 287.
New York Times
14 Feb 1927
p. 14.
Variety
27 Jan 1926
p. 41.
Variety
24 Feb 1926
p. 36.
Variety
3 Mar 1926
p. 1.
Variety
10 Mar 1926
p. 41.
Variety
21 Apr 1926
p. 40.
Variety
5 May 1926
p. 5.
Variety
12 May 1926
p. 41.
Variety
7 Jul 1926
p. 12.
Variety
9 Feb 1927
p. 6.
Variety
16 Feb 1927
p. 6.
Variety
16 Feb 1927
p. 19, 23.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
FILM EDITOR
Film ed
SET DECORATORS
Settings
Settings
COSTUMES
Ward
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the musical comedy The Red Mill music by Victor Herbert, book and lyrics by Henry Martyn Blossom (New York, 24 Sep 1906).
DETAILS
Release Date:
February 1927
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles opening: 8 February 1927
New York opening at the Capitol Theatre: 12 February 1927
Production Date:
early May--September 1928
Copyright Claimant:
Cosmopolitan Productions
Copyright Date:
2 March 1927
Copyright Number:
LP23721
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in feet):
6,337
Length(in reels):
7
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Tina, a general slavey at the Red Mill Inn who suffers from the extreme temper of her employer, Willem, falls in love with Dennis, a visitor to the Netherlands. Gretchen, the burgomaster's daughter, is betrothed to the elderly governor, though she is actually in love with Captain Edam. Tina masquerades as Gretchen in order to prevent the forced marriage, and when she is locked in a haunted mill, she is rescued by ... +


Tina, a general slavey at the Red Mill Inn who suffers from the extreme temper of her employer, Willem, falls in love with Dennis, a visitor to the Netherlands. Gretchen, the burgomaster's daughter, is betrothed to the elderly governor, though she is actually in love with Captain Edam. Tina masquerades as Gretchen in order to prevent the forced marriage, and when she is locked in a haunted mill, she is rescued by Dennis. +

GENRE
Genre:


Subject

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.