Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall (1924)

Romance | 15 March 1924

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HISTORY

After a lengthy bidding war between studios, the 3 Jun 1992 Exhibitors Trade Review announced that Kenma Corporation won the motion picture rights to Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall (1902), Charles Major’s fictionalized account of the life of English heiress Dorothy Vernon. The project marked one of the first feature film endeavors of the Kenma Corporation, which was founded by several notable businessmen and scenario writer Rufus Steele, who also agreed to supervise production. Steele reportedly based the scenario on both Major’s novel and the playbook of the 1903 stage adaptation. With Madge Kennedy already secured for the leading role, the 17 Jun 1922 Exhibitors Trade Review reported that Henry Kolker signed on to direct. An 8 Jul 1922 Exhibitors Trade Review item indicated that Kenma planned to expedite production.
       According to the Mar—Aug 1924 Picture-Play Magazine, however, Mary Pickford offered Kennedy $75,000 for rights to the story—six times Kenma’s original purchase price of $12,500. William Randolph Hearst reportedly offered $85,000 to produce the film as a vehicle for Marion Davies, but the property had already been sold to Pickford. Despite her eagerness to acquire the material, the 16 Sep 1922 Exhibitors Trade Review stated that Pickford chose to postpone development, claiming the project was a departure from her usual work and required “very special attention.”
       Later that year, the 9 Dec 1922 Exhibitors Herald announced that Ernst Lubitsch agreed to direct. Items in the 7 Oct 1922 Exhibitors Herald and Jan 1923 issue of The Educational Screen reported the involvement of English playwright Edward Knoblock, who was assigned to ... More Less

After a lengthy bidding war between studios, the 3 Jun 1992 Exhibitors Trade Review announced that Kenma Corporation won the motion picture rights to Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall (1902), Charles Major’s fictionalized account of the life of English heiress Dorothy Vernon. The project marked one of the first feature film endeavors of the Kenma Corporation, which was founded by several notable businessmen and scenario writer Rufus Steele, who also agreed to supervise production. Steele reportedly based the scenario on both Major’s novel and the playbook of the 1903 stage adaptation. With Madge Kennedy already secured for the leading role, the 17 Jun 1922 Exhibitors Trade Review reported that Henry Kolker signed on to direct. An 8 Jul 1922 Exhibitors Trade Review item indicated that Kenma planned to expedite production.
       According to the Mar—Aug 1924 Picture-Play Magazine, however, Mary Pickford offered Kennedy $75,000 for rights to the story—six times Kenma’s original purchase price of $12,500. William Randolph Hearst reportedly offered $85,000 to produce the film as a vehicle for Marion Davies, but the property had already been sold to Pickford. Despite her eagerness to acquire the material, the 16 Sep 1922 Exhibitors Trade Review stated that Pickford chose to postpone development, claiming the project was a departure from her usual work and required “very special attention.”
       Later that year, the 9 Dec 1922 Exhibitors Herald announced that Ernst Lubitsch agreed to direct. Items in the 7 Oct 1922 Exhibitors Herald and Jan 1923 issue of The Educational Screen reported the involvement of English playwright Edward Knoblock, who was assigned to write continuity and “supervise the historic detail,” while the 20 Jan 1923 Exhibitors Trade Review stated that former production manager-turned-oilman Ted Reed agreed to return to the entertainment industry to supervise set construction. However, production stalled for several months while Pickford juggled filming of Rosita (1923, see entry) and a script titled Faust, which ultimately did not move forward. Although Lubitsch collaborated with Pickford on Rosita, the Aug 1923—Jan 1924 Motion Picture Magazine reported that he chose to leave Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall to direct his next project at Warner Bros. The Sep 1923 issue of The Educational Screen named Marshall Neilan as his replacement. It was around this time that Sterrett Ford stepped in as production manager, and Pickford’s sister and brother-in-law, Lottie Pickford Forrest and Allan Forrest, joined the cast.
       The 6 Oct 1923 Exhibitors Trade Review indicated that principal photography was finally underway at the Pickford-Fairbanks Studios in West Hollywood, CA. Items in the 20 Oct 1923 Motion Picture News and Moving Picture World reported that production soon moved to San Francisco, CA, for exterior scenes. According to the Oct 1923—Mar 1924 issue of Screenland, additional sequences were filmed at the Busch Gardens in Pasadena, CA. Although sources reported conflicting information of the exact date, the 26 Dec 1923 FD and 19 Jan 1924 Exhibitors Herald indicated that principal photography was completed in late Dec 1923.
       The 26 Jan 1924 Exhibitors Herald stated that Victor Schertzinger composed music for the film.
       According to the 23 Apr 1924 Var, Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall played a five-week engagement at Grauman’s Million Dollar Theatre in Los Angeles, CA. Items in the 12 Apr 1924 Exhibitors Trade Review and 27 Aug 1924 Var reported that the New York City premiere was scheduled to take place 5 May 1924 at the Criterion Theatre, where it enjoyed box-office success for a total of sixteen weeks. According to the 24 May 1924 Exhibitors Trade Review, U.S. President Calvin Coolidge screened the film on 10 May 1924. The following evening marked the beginning of a limited engagement at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C.
       The Sep 1923—Feb 1924 Picture-Play Magazine claimed that theater owners likely charged higher ticket prices to help the studio recoup the “startlingly high” production cost.
       The 16 Aug 1924 Exhibitors Trade Review announced that the National Board of Review named the picture as one of the year’s “exceptional photoplays.” More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Exhibitors Herald
7 Oct 1922
p. 82.
Exhibitors Herald
9 Dec 1922
p. 37.
Exhibitors Herald
19 Jan 1924
p. 26.
Exhibitors Herald
26 Jan 1924
p. 58.
Exhibitors Trade Review
3 Jun 1922
p. 14.
Exhibitors Trade Review
17 Jun 1922
p. 149.
Exhibitors Trade Review
8 Jul 1922
p. 333.
Exhibitors Trade Review
16 Sep 1922
p. 1062.
Exhibitors Trade Review
20 Jan 1923
p. 406.
Exhibitors Trade Review
6 Oct 1923
p. 856.
Exhibitors Trade Review
12 Apr 1924
p. 9.
Exhibitors Trade Review
24 May 1924
p. 6.
Exhibitors Trade Review
16 Aug 1924
p. 40.
Film Daily
21 Feb 1923.
---
Film Daily
23 Feb 1923.
---
Film Daily
26 Dec 1923.
---
Film Daily
25 May 1924
p. 8.
Motion Picture Magazine
Aug 1923--Jan 1924.
---
Motion Picture News
20 Oct 1923
p. 1875.
Moving Picture World
20 Oct 1923
p. 678.
Picture-Play Magazine
Sep 1923--Feb 1924
p. 68.
Picture-Play Magazine
Mar-Aug 1924
p. 6.
Picture-Play Magazine
Mar-Aug 1924
p. 120.
Screenland
Oct 1923--Mar 1924
p. 103.
The Educational Screen
Jan 1923
p. 30.
The Educational Screen
Sep 1923
p. 347.
Variety
23 Apr 1924
p. 19.
Variety
7 May 1924
p. 24.
Variety
27 Aug 1924
p. 22.
DETAILS
Release Date:
15 March 1924
Premiere Information:
New York premiere: 5 May 1924
Production Date:
early October--late December 1923
Copyright Claimant:
Mary Pickford Productions
Copyright Date:
16 April 1924
Copyright Number:
LP20113
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in feet):
9,351
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Dorothy, the willful and rebellious daughter of Sir George Vernon, is pledged to marry her cousin on her 18th birthday. Risking parental wrath, she meets and falls in love with Sir John Manners, a childhood playmate, who is a member of the enemy house and faces treachery and intrigue before he wins her. She is accused of treason but saves Queen Elizabeth's life, and after being pardoned she leaves for Wales with Sir ... +


Dorothy, the willful and rebellious daughter of Sir George Vernon, is pledged to marry her cousin on her 18th birthday. Risking parental wrath, she meets and falls in love with Sir John Manners, a childhood playmate, who is a member of the enemy house and faces treachery and intrigue before he wins her. She is accused of treason but saves Queen Elizabeth's life, and after being pardoned she leaves for Wales with Sir John. +

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.