The Green Goddess (1923)

Melodrama | 16 September 1923

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HISTORY

On 10 Feb 1923, Moving Picture World reported the acquisition of film rights for William Archer’s 1921 stage play by Distinctive Pictures Corporation. Actor George Arliss, who starred in the play for the previous three years, reprised his role on screen. The 5 May 1923 Moving Picture World announced that actress Alice Joyce was cast in a lead role following a two-year hiatus from acting. Dancer Roshanara was originally cast as “Ayah,” but later replaced by Jetta Goudal. Two weeks later, the 19 May 1923 Moving Picture World stated that filming was in progress at the former Biograph studio lot in Bronx, New York. The headline incorrectly credited “Goldwyn” as producer. However, The Goldwyn Company distributed the film, in association with Cosmopolitan Pictures.
       According to the 2 Jun 1923 Moving Picture World, Distinctive constructed “an entire section of a Himalayan mountain town” on a hillside behind the lot. The set included “bazaars and public buildings,” as well as a palace surrounded by a 100-foot wall. Art director Clark Robinson reportedly studied “Hindoo” architecture for several months prior to designing the set, and was aided by scenic painter Frank Muchmore and technical advisor Roshanara. A follow-up article in the 23 Jun 1923 Moving Picture World heralded the film as Distinctive’s largest production to date, with sets occupying approximately 75,000 square feet. Principal photography concluded in Jul 1923, as stated in the 14 Jul 1923 Moving Picture World. Arliss completed his work one week ahead of the other principal actors.
       On 4 Aug 1923, Moving Picture World ... More Less

On 10 Feb 1923, Moving Picture World reported the acquisition of film rights for William Archer’s 1921 stage play by Distinctive Pictures Corporation. Actor George Arliss, who starred in the play for the previous three years, reprised his role on screen. The 5 May 1923 Moving Picture World announced that actress Alice Joyce was cast in a lead role following a two-year hiatus from acting. Dancer Roshanara was originally cast as “Ayah,” but later replaced by Jetta Goudal. Two weeks later, the 19 May 1923 Moving Picture World stated that filming was in progress at the former Biograph studio lot in Bronx, New York. The headline incorrectly credited “Goldwyn” as producer. However, The Goldwyn Company distributed the film, in association with Cosmopolitan Pictures.
       According to the 2 Jun 1923 Moving Picture World, Distinctive constructed “an entire section of a Himalayan mountain town” on a hillside behind the lot. The set included “bazaars and public buildings,” as well as a palace surrounded by a 100-foot wall. Art director Clark Robinson reportedly studied “Hindoo” architecture for several months prior to designing the set, and was aided by scenic painter Frank Muchmore and technical advisor Roshanara. A follow-up article in the 23 Jun 1923 Moving Picture World heralded the film as Distinctive’s largest production to date, with sets occupying approximately 75,000 square feet. Principal photography concluded in Jul 1923, as stated in the 14 Jul 1923 Moving Picture World. Arliss completed his work one week ahead of the other principal actors.
       On 4 Aug 1923, Moving Picture World announced the 12 Aug 1923 world premiere at the Sam H. Harris Theatre in New York City. Distinctive Pictures president Arthur S. Friend leased the theater for an undetermined run, beginning 14 Aug 1923. The following day, the 15 Aug 1923 FD noted that screenings were preceeded by “an elaborate prologue.” The Green Goddess opened to critical and public acclaim. An editorial in the 25 Aug 1923 Moving Picture World encouranged reluctant exhibitors to rent the film, guaranteeing its entertainment value, despite its “highbrow” reputation. Critic F. W. Mordaunt Hall placed it among the best pictures of the year, as stated in the 29 Sep 1923 Moving Picture World. The 3 Nov 1923 Moving Picture World reported earnings of nearly $54,000 in the initial week of the film’s run at New York City’s Capitol Theatre.
       The premiere print was 9,600 feet in length, although the 19 Aug 1923 FD predicted the release print would comprise eight reels. Months later, a review in the 15 Dec 1923 Moving Picture World revealed that the picture had only been shortened by 500 feet.
       The play The Green Goddess, was also the basis of a sound and dialogue film of the same name produced by Warner Bros. in 1930. That film was directed by Alfred E. Green and also starred George Arliss and Alice Joyce. More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Film Daily
17 May 1923
p. 4.
Film Daily
15 Aug 1923
p. 1.
Film Daily
16 Aug 1923
p. 3.
Film Daily
19 Aug 1923
p. 3.
Film Daily
21 Aug 1923
p. 1.
Moving Picture World
10 Feb 1923
p. 588.
Moving Picture World
5 May 1923
p. 25.
Moving Picture World
19 May 1923
p. 250.
Moving Picture World
2 Jun 1923
p. 416.
Moving Picture World
23 Jun 1923
p. 678.
Moving Picture World
14 Jul 1923
p. 165, 169.
Moving Picture World
28 Jul 1923
p. 319.
Moving Picture World
4 Aug 1923
p. 415.
Moving Picture World
11 Aug 1923
p. 501.
Moving Picture World
25 Aug 1923
p. 629.
Moving Picture World
29 Sep 1923
p. 435.
Moving Picture World
27 Oct 1923
p. 755.
Moving Picture World
3 Nov 1923
p. 153.
Moving Picture World
1 Dec 1923
p. 485.
Moving Picture World
15 Dec 1923
p. 624.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Dir of photog
MUSIC
Mus score
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play The Green Goddess by William Archer (New York, 18 Jan 1921).
DETAILS
Release Date:
16 September 1923
Premiere Information:
New York premiere: 12 August 1923
Production Date:
May--July 1923
Copyright Claimant:
Distinctive Productions, Inc.
Copyright Date:
17 September 1923
Copyright Number:
LP19418
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Sound, also silent
Released as 8 reels, 8,000 ft.
Length(in reels):
10
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Fleeing a threatened Hindu uprising, Major Crespin and his wife, accompanied by Dr. Traherne, travel by airplane to a distant settlement. The Rajah of Rukh makes them his prisoner-guests when the airplane crashes in his kingdom. He informs the three that they will be killed in retaliation for the approaching execution by the British of his three brothers. Crespin and Traherne bribe the butler to send an appeal for help over the wireless, but he betrays them and loses his life. Crespin gets the message through before the rajah shoots him. British aviators arrive in time to save Traherne and Mrs. ... +


Fleeing a threatened Hindu uprising, Major Crespin and his wife, accompanied by Dr. Traherne, travel by airplane to a distant settlement. The Rajah of Rukh makes them his prisoner-guests when the airplane crashes in his kingdom. He informs the three that they will be killed in retaliation for the approaching execution by the British of his three brothers. Crespin and Traherne bribe the butler to send an appeal for help over the wireless, but he betrays them and loses his life. Crespin gets the message through before the rajah shoots him. British aviators arrive in time to save Traherne and Mrs. Crespin. +

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.