The Affairs of Anatol (1921)

Comedy-drama | 25 September 1921

Director:

Cecil B. DeMille

Producer:

Cecil B. DeMille

Cinematographers:

Karl Struss, Alvin Wyckoff

Production Designer:

Paul Iribe

Production Company:

Famous Players-Lasky Corp.
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HISTORY

The film begins with the following prologue: “This is the story of a romantic Young Man who has a passion for saving Ladies from real, or imaginary, difficulties—always like Don Quixote, with the most honorable intent. But the Wives of such chivalrous Men are not so philanthropically interested in saving other Women’s souls--however noble and sincere their Husband’s impulses.”
       On 19 Nov 1920, Var announced that Famous Players-Lasky Corp. was temporarily downsizing its West Coast operation in Los Angeles, CA, and had dismissed over 200 employees, consisting of mainly “help and extras.” A new policy dictated that the studio’s production schedule would be limited to three directors – Cecil B. DeMille, William DeMille, and George Melford – and each filmmaker was allotted four “super special” pictures, featuring “all star credits.” The Affairs of Anatol, an adaptation of the 1893 play Anatol by Arthur Schnitzler, was scheduled to be the first production under the new protocol. One week later, a 26 Nov 1920 Var article reported that a related Famous Players-Lasky press notice had generated a publicity frenzy, as it declared that the studio had established a new “stock company” that would produce films in which “all the stars under the Paramount banner would appear in all the pictures.” The move was intended to elevate “all Paramount stars to the position of super-stars,” according to a statement from Famous Players-Lasky, and to accommodate the many female leading roles necessary for The Affairs of Anatol, which was set to be the stock company’s inaugural feature.
       By 8 Jan 1921, the title was changed to Five Kisses, ... More Less

The film begins with the following prologue: “This is the story of a romantic Young Man who has a passion for saving Ladies from real, or imaginary, difficulties—always like Don Quixote, with the most honorable intent. But the Wives of such chivalrous Men are not so philanthropically interested in saving other Women’s souls--however noble and sincere their Husband’s impulses.”
       On 19 Nov 1920, Var announced that Famous Players-Lasky Corp. was temporarily downsizing its West Coast operation in Los Angeles, CA, and had dismissed over 200 employees, consisting of mainly “help and extras.” A new policy dictated that the studio’s production schedule would be limited to three directors – Cecil B. DeMille, William DeMille, and George Melford – and each filmmaker was allotted four “super special” pictures, featuring “all star credits.” The Affairs of Anatol, an adaptation of the 1893 play Anatol by Arthur Schnitzler, was scheduled to be the first production under the new protocol. One week later, a 26 Nov 1920 Var article reported that a related Famous Players-Lasky press notice had generated a publicity frenzy, as it declared that the studio had established a new “stock company” that would produce films in which “all the stars under the Paramount banner would appear in all the pictures.” The move was intended to elevate “all Paramount stars to the position of super-stars,” according to a statement from Famous Players-Lasky, and to accommodate the many female leading roles necessary for The Affairs of Anatol, which was set to be the stock company’s inaugural feature.
       By 8 Jan 1921, the title was changed to Five Kisses, and production was underway at Lasky Studios in Hollywood, CA, as noted in a Moving Picture World column published that day. The film was reportedly “the biggest ever attempted at the Lasky studio.” At that time, actors Monte Blue and Raymond Hatton had recently been cast. French illustrator and decorator Paul Iribe was at work on the sets with his “collaborator,” Howard Higgin, and Cullen Tate was listed as director Cecil B. DeMille’s assistant. After two weeks, the 21 Jan 1921 Var announced an industry-wide, twenty-five-to-fifty percent reduction in non-contract film actor salaries, due to an oversupply of talent in Hollywood. Famous Players-Lasky was one of the first studios to adopt the new cutbacks as a result of the inflated costs of The Affairs of Anatol, which was still in production after three months of filming at an overhead cost of over $300,000. According to Paramount Pictures’ founder Adolph Zukor, the film’s negative would most likely amount to $800,000, more than twice the expense of a similar picture produced one year earlier. A news item in the 22 Jan 1921 Motion Picture News announced that production on Anatol was completed, and the film was set to be released as Five Kisses.
       On 5 Feb 1921, a Moving Picture World article explained the discrepancies in the title and stated that the original name (The Affairs of Anatol) had been restored due to overwhelming protest against Five Kisses, which referred to “Anatol’s” five mistresses. The studio had financed a national poll of fans and exhibitors to test Five Kisses, and responders voted in favor of The Affairs of Anatol because it retained a closer affiliation with the film’s literary source. Jesse L. Lasky told Moving Picture World that the survey reflected a significant transformation in the public’s perspective about film: “Up to, within the last year or so, motion pictures were looked upon as appealing more to the unsophisticated and less cultured. But during the past two years there has been such a decided change for the better in the production of pictures that now every class, from the college professor to the shop girl, is an ardent picture fan… [who] now demand film titles of dignity and tradition.”
       The Mar-Aug 1921 edition of Picture-Play featured a photograph of “the staff that prepared the scenario,” which portrayed Lorna Moon and Beulah Marie Dix along with scenarist Jeanie Macpherson and Cecil B. DeMille. Contemporary sources added Dorothy Cumming to the cast, but she was not included in the 24 Sep 1921 Motion Picture News review, which listed the following players: Guy Oliver as The Spencer butler; Ruth Miller as The Spencer maid; Lucien Littlefield as The Spencer valet; Zelma Maja as Nurse; Shannon Day as Chorus girl; Elinor Glyn and Lady Packer as Bridge players; William Boyd and Maud Wayne as Guests; Fred Huntley as Stage manager; and Alma Bennett as Chorus girl. The literary source was presented as: “Suggested by Arthur Schnitzler’s play and the paraphrase thereof by Granville Barker.” Picture-Play also stated that lead actor Wallace Reid was instructed to destroy “everything breakable” on set while filming one scene, and the loss of props was estimated to cost the production $30,000. After demolishing furniture and a piano, Reid reportedly concluded the sequence by hurling a divan through French doors. Gloria Swanson told Picture-Play that she began work on The Affairs of Anatol six weeks after giving birth to her daughter, because she believed it was her “last chance” to perform in a DeMille picture.
       On 3 Sep 1921, Motion Picture News announced that “Sunday proved a record-breaking day for Paramount special productions in Chicago,” indicating that the film screened in that city on Sunday, 28 Aug 1921, one month before its national release date. After the exhibition at the Ascher Brothers’ “new” Roosevelt Theater, owner Max Ascher sent a wire to Paramount stating: “Consider this the greatest box-office attraction ever produced.” A 10 Sep 1921 Motion Picture News item noted that momentum was building for the 25 Sep 1921 opening, and Saturday Evening Post planned to publish a “double-truck advertisement of a single motion picture” for the first time, announcing “the biggest day and date booking in the whole history of motion pictures—bar none!” A record-breaking 211 theaters were listed by name in the notice, and the general manager of Paramount’s distribution department, S. R. Kent, was credited with launching a national ”Anatol week.”
       Upon its general release, The Affairs of Anatol maintained its early box-office success, setting ticket sales records at the Rialto and Rivoli theatres in New York City, as announced in the 1 Oct 1921 Motion Picture News. It marked the first time a picture was released simultaneously in both theaters, and sold 10,166 tickets at the Rialto, and 9,959 at the Rivoli, on opening day alone. The Affairs of Anatol was scheduled to run for two weeks at both venues, and was expected to be viewed by over 200,000 New Yorkers – three percent of the city’s population at that time. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
18 Sep 1921
p. 4.
Motion Picture News
22 Jan 1921
p. 850.
Motion Picture News
5 Feb 1921
p. 1135.
Motion Picture News
3 Sep 1921
p. 1225.
Motion Picture News
10 Sep 1921
p. 1263.
Motion Picture News
10 Sep 1921
p. 1351.
Motion Picture News
24 Sep 1921
p. 1661.
Motion Picture News
1 Oct 1921
p. 1751.
Moving Picture World
8 Jan 1921
p. 191.
Moving Picture World
5 Feb 1921
p. 723.
New York Times
12 Sep 1921
p. 16.
Picture-Play
Mar-Aug 1921.
---
Variety
19 Nov 1920
p. 38.
Variety
26 Nov 1920.
---
Variety
21 Jan 1921
p. 47.
Variety
26 Aug 1921
p. 36.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXTS
Jesse L. Lasky Presents
Cecil B. DeMille's Production
A Paramount Picture
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Prod mgr
PRODUCERS
WRITERS
Appreciation of their literary assistance is exten
Appreciation of their literary assistance is exten
PHOTOGRAPHY
Photog
Photog
ART DIRECTOR
Art dir
SOURCES
LITERARY
Suggested by Arthur Schnitzler's play of the same name, Anatol by (1893).
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
Five Kisses
Anatol
Release Date:
25 September 1921
Premiere Information:
Chicago screening: 28 August 1921
Production Date:
November 1920--January 1921
Copyright Claimant:
Famous Players-Lasky Corp.
Copyright Date:
11 September 1921
Copyright Number:
LP16961
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in feet):
8,806
Length(in reels):
8 , 9
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Anatol and his wife, Vivian, come to the Green Fan Cafe, where Anatol recognizes Emilie, a former school companion, with Bronson, a wealthy rake, and persuades her to leave him. Emilie deceives him, however, by failing to throw her diamonds into the river, and out of anger Anatol wrecks her apartment. On the way to the country, Anatol saves Annie Elliot from drowning herself after she is repudiated by her husband for stealing church funds; Annie then steals Anatol's purse and kisses him as Vivian returns with a doctor. At a society gathering, Vivian is hypnotized by a magician, and Anatol, in disgust, seeks out Satan Synne, supposedly New York's wickedest woman. He discovers, however, that Satan is actually the loving wife of a disabled soldier in need of an operation. She obtains the money from Anatol after he learns the truth; disgusted, he returns home to make peace with ... +


Anatol and his wife, Vivian, come to the Green Fan Cafe, where Anatol recognizes Emilie, a former school companion, with Bronson, a wealthy rake, and persuades her to leave him. Emilie deceives him, however, by failing to throw her diamonds into the river, and out of anger Anatol wrecks her apartment. On the way to the country, Anatol saves Annie Elliot from drowning herself after she is repudiated by her husband for stealing church funds; Annie then steals Anatol's purse and kisses him as Vivian returns with a doctor. At a society gathering, Vivian is hypnotized by a magician, and Anatol, in disgust, seeks out Satan Synne, supposedly New York's wickedest woman. He discovers, however, that Satan is actually the loving wife of a disabled soldier in need of an operation. She obtains the money from Anatol after he learns the truth; disgusted, he returns home to make peace with Vivian. +

GENRE
Genre:


Subject

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

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