Heedless Moths (1921)

Melodrama | 1 October 1921

Director:

Robert Z. Leonard

Producer:

George Perry

Cinematographer:

Harold Young

Production Company:

Perry Plays
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HISTORY

An advertisement in the 25 Apr 1921 Wid’s Daily announced the recent completion of principal photography in the form of an open letter from director Robert Z. Leonard, who stated that he had not been credited for his work by the production company, Perry Plays. Leonard went on to say the picture was destined for greatness, and asked for assistance from distributors and exhibitors in pleading his case. It was also noted that the plot was based on a true “incident from the life of Audrey Munson, the world’s most famous Artist’s Model.” The film was known at the time by its working title, The Soul Within. The 11 Mar 1922 Camera noted that production took place at the former Tiffany Studio at 334 West 44th Street in New York City.
       During the month of May 1925, captioned photographs from the production appeared on the front pages of Wid’s Daily. Among them was the 5 May 1921 edition, which included a child actor identified only as “little ‘Tommy’,” and actress Hedda Hopper, who was referred to as Mrs. DeWolf Hopper. The following day’s issue noted that Munson did not appear nude in the picture, but did, however, “bare her heart and soul.” On 18 May 1921, the caption hinted at the picture’s official title: “Heedless moths lured by the false glitter of ‘Bohemia!’”
       The film opened nearly two weeks later as Heedless Moths, making its New York City debut at the Greenwich Village Theater on 2 Jun 1921. According to the 10 Jun 1921 ...

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An advertisement in the 25 Apr 1921 Wid’s Daily announced the recent completion of principal photography in the form of an open letter from director Robert Z. Leonard, who stated that he had not been credited for his work by the production company, Perry Plays. Leonard went on to say the picture was destined for greatness, and asked for assistance from distributors and exhibitors in pleading his case. It was also noted that the plot was based on a true “incident from the life of Audrey Munson, the world’s most famous Artist’s Model.” The film was known at the time by its working title, The Soul Within. The 11 Mar 1922 Camera noted that production took place at the former Tiffany Studio at 334 West 44th Street in New York City.
       During the month of May 1925, captioned photographs from the production appeared on the front pages of Wid’s Daily. Among them was the 5 May 1921 edition, which included a child actor identified only as “little ‘Tommy’,” and actress Hedda Hopper, who was referred to as Mrs. DeWolf Hopper. The following day’s issue noted that Munson did not appear nude in the picture, but did, however, “bare her heart and soul.” On 18 May 1921, the caption hinted at the picture’s official title: “Heedless moths lured by the false glitter of ‘Bohemia!’”
       The film opened nearly two weeks later as Heedless Moths, making its New York City debut at the Greenwich Village Theater on 2 Jun 1921. According to the 10 Jun 1921 Var, the program also featured a prologue starring Henry Duggan as “The Spirit of the Arch.” That same issue described a poster advertising the event as “showing Audrey Munson and a lot of her.” William McAdoo, the city’s chief magistrate, ordered the removal of the poster. The picture went into general release on 1 Oct 1921.
       Reviews were mixed, with several critics highlighting Munson’s varying degrees of undress, and questioning the competence of the New York State censorship board. Months earlier, Joe Schnitzer of distributor Equity Pictures told the 16 Jun 1921 Wid’s Daily that censors could not object to the film because the nudity was presented in an artistic fashion. Within weeks of the Greenwich Village Theatre opening, the film moved to the Frazee Theatre on Broadway, and was proclaimed by the 2 Jul 1921 Moving Picture World to be the only independent release showing at a “legitimate” Broadway theater. The 17 Dec 1921 issue later reported that both theaters had been charging as much as two dollars per ticket. The picture was currently playing throughout the Greater New York City area, including northern New Jersey.
       States’ rights exchanges handling the release included Elks Photo-Plays, Inc., of New York City, and Creole Amusement Co. of New Orleans, LA.

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Camera
11 Mar 1922
p. 9
Exhibitors Trade Review
22 Oct 1921
p. 1455
Motion Picture News
27 May 1922
p. 2965
Moving Picture World
2 Jul 1921
p. 102
Moving Picture World
17 Dec 1921
p. 826
MPN Booking Guide
Apr 1922
p. 35
Photoplay
Sep 1921
p. 64
Variety
10 Jun 1921
p. 30, 34
Wid's Daily
25 Apr 1921
p. 3
Wid's Daily
5 May 1921
p. 1
Wid's Daily
6 May 1921
p. 1
Wid's Daily
18 May 1921
p. 1
Wid's Daily
25 May 1921
p. 1
Wid's Daily
1 Jun 1921
p. 1
Wid's Daily
6 Jun 1921
p. 2
Wid's Daily
13 Jun 1921
p. 1
Wid's Daily
16 Jun 1921
p. 2
Wid's Daily
19 Jun 1921
p. 14
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Staging (tableaux)
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
Hal Young
Dir of photog
ART DIRECTORS
Stage settings
Sketching
FILM EDITOR
COSTUMES
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short stories "Studio Secrets" "Life Story" and other titles by Audrey Munson in Hearst's Sunday Magazine (publication dates undetermined).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Soul Within
Release Date:
1 October 1921
Premiere Information:
New York premiere: 2 Jun 1921
Production Date:
ended Apr 1921
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Perry Plays
5 June 1921
LP17645
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in reels):
6
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

In New York City, artists’ model Audrey Munson is asked by a dilletante painter to pose for him at night. Upon learning that his intentions are not wholly artistic, Audrey flees from the studio and is found wandering in a storm by a kindly old man, who later introduces her to a celebrated sculptor. Inspired by Audrey’s beauty, the sculptor obtains her consent to pose in the nude for a piece to be called "Body and Soul." The sculptor's wife falls prey to the attentions of the Dilletante, and her husband learns of her infidelity from a vengeful model whom the painter seduced. Although Audrey is infatuated with the sculptor, she is willing to sacrifice her happiness for the sake of his marriage. Knowing that the he is searching for his wife, Audrey follows the woman to the Dilletante’s apartment, hides her in the closet, and feigns drunkenness when the sculptor arrives. He destroys the statue of Audrey in disgust and reconciles with his ...

More Less

In New York City, artists’ model Audrey Munson is asked by a dilletante painter to pose for him at night. Upon learning that his intentions are not wholly artistic, Audrey flees from the studio and is found wandering in a storm by a kindly old man, who later introduces her to a celebrated sculptor. Inspired by Audrey’s beauty, the sculptor obtains her consent to pose in the nude for a piece to be called "Body and Soul." The sculptor's wife falls prey to the attentions of the Dilletante, and her husband learns of her infidelity from a vengeful model whom the painter seduced. Although Audrey is infatuated with the sculptor, she is willing to sacrifice her happiness for the sake of his marriage. Knowing that the he is searching for his wife, Audrey follows the woman to the Dilletante’s apartment, hides her in the closet, and feigns drunkenness when the sculptor arrives. He destroys the statue of Audrey in disgust and reconciles with his wife.

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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.