Just Around the Corner (1921)

Melodrama | 11 December 1921

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HISTORY

The start of production was announced in the 12 Jun 1920 Motion Picture News under the film’s official title, Just Around the Corner, taken from a 1914 collection of short stories by author Fannie Hurst, which included “The Superman,” upon which this film was based. One week later, the 19 Jun 1920 Exhibitors Herald referred to the film project as The Superman. An item in the Aug 1920 Motion Picture identified Frank Borzage as the director.
       The 17 Dec 1921 Moving Picture World later reported that screen rights for the property had since been acquired by William Randolph Hearst’s Cosmopolitan Productions, which assigned the adaptation to writer Frances Marion. On 2 Apr 1921, Motion Picture News noted that Marion had also replaced Borzage as director. The 9 Apr 1921 issue included Zyllah Shannon among the cast.
       According to articles in the 31 Dec 1921 issues of Motion Picture News and Moving Picture World, Frances Marion and her assistant director, Stuart Heisler, searched New York City’s lower East Side for a suitable location to build a factory set. After several days, they settled on a “dingy, miserable and dirty basement.” Set decorator Joseph Urban was given detailed photographs of the space, and an actual factory foreman and his crew were then hired to reenact their jobs for the camera. Other New York City locations included Metro Studios on Sixty-first Street (25 Mar 1921 Wid’s Daily), and the International Film Studio at 2478 Second Avenue (14 May 1921 Camera). ...

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The start of production was announced in the 12 Jun 1920 Motion Picture News under the film’s official title, Just Around the Corner, taken from a 1914 collection of short stories by author Fannie Hurst, which included “The Superman,” upon which this film was based. One week later, the 19 Jun 1920 Exhibitors Herald referred to the film project as The Superman. An item in the Aug 1920 Motion Picture identified Frank Borzage as the director.
       The 17 Dec 1921 Moving Picture World later reported that screen rights for the property had since been acquired by William Randolph Hearst’s Cosmopolitan Productions, which assigned the adaptation to writer Frances Marion. On 2 Apr 1921, Motion Picture News noted that Marion had also replaced Borzage as director. The 9 Apr 1921 issue included Zyllah Shannon among the cast.
       According to articles in the 31 Dec 1921 issues of Motion Picture News and Moving Picture World, Frances Marion and her assistant director, Stuart Heisler, searched New York City’s lower East Side for a suitable location to build a factory set. After several days, they settled on a “dingy, miserable and dirty basement.” Set decorator Joseph Urban was given detailed photographs of the space, and an actual factory foreman and his crew were then hired to reenact their jobs for the camera. Other New York City locations included Metro Studios on Sixty-first Street (25 Mar 1921 Wid’s Daily), and the International Film Studio at 2478 Second Avenue (14 May 1921 Camera). An item in the 25 Apr 1921 Wid’s Daily indicated the completion of filming, which the 11 Jun 1921 Camera estimated as taking place over a period of three months.
       The Oct 1921 Photoplay later revealed that Marion was dissatisfied with the picture and was on hiatus at her home in Chappaqua, NY. That same month, the 22 Oct 1921 Camera noted that co-star Lewis Sargent was on his way to New York City to shoot retakes. Also appearing in the film were Marion’s husband, Fred Thomson, and actress Sigrid Holmquist, who was described in the 17 Dec 1921 Motion Picture News as “the Mary Pickford of Sweden.” According to the 17 Dec 1921 Exhibitors Herald, Marion was offered a substantial salary increase to return to Cosmopolitan. She had spent the previous several months writing scenarios for actresses Norma and Constance Talmadge.
       Just Around the Corner was released on 11 Dec 1921, followed by a New York City opening on 1 Jan 1922 at the Rialto Theatre, and a Los Angeles, CA, opening during the week of 8 Jan 1922 at Grauman’s Theatre. The 18 Feb 1922 Motion Picture News noted that Lewis Sargent had attempted to promote the film’s Los Angeles debut by working as a Western Union messenger, in emulation of his screen character. Although Sargent abandoned the stunt after only one day, theater owner Sid Grauman turned the idea into a contest, which offered free passes to the messenger boy most closely resembling Sargent.
       An article in the Jul 1922 Motion Picture Age reported that the film had been declared suitable for all ages by the National Motion Picture League, provided that all depictions of “immodest dancing” be removed, and phrases such as “I’m gonna knock your block off” and “You devil” be deleted from the subtitles. The production was approved without reservation by the Better Films Committee of the Chicago Women’s Aid, as stated in the Sep 1922 Moving Picture Age.
       An unrelated stage musical, also titled Just Around the Corner, was mentioned in the 24 Jan 1919 Var.

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Camera
16 Apr 1921
p. 13
Camera
14 May 1921
p. 13
Camera
11 Jun 1921
p. 7
Camera
22 Oct 1921
p. 8
Camera
7 Jan 1922
p. 16
Exhibitors Herald
19 Jun 1920
p. 60
Exhibitors Herald
17 Dec 1921
p. 31
Exhibitors Herald
24 Dec 1921
p. 140
Motion Picture
Aug 1920
p. 88
Motion Picture News
12 Jun 1920
p. 4785
Motion Picture News
2 Apr 1921
p. 2368
Motion Picture News
9 Apr 1921
p. 2466, 2471
Motion Picture News
17 Dec 1921
p. 3226
Motion Picture News
31 Dec 1921
p. 294
Motion Picture News
7 Jan 1922
p. 413
Motion Picture News
14 Jan 1922
p. 553
Motion Picture News
21 Jan 1922
p. 618
Motion Picture News
18 Feb 1922
p. 1121
Moving Picture Age
Jul 1922
p. 13
Moving Picture Age
Sep 1922
p. 19
Moving Picture World
17 Dec 1921
p. 817
Moving Picture World
24 Dec 1921
p. 413
Moving Picture World
31 Dec 1921
p. 1119
Photoplay
Oct 1921
p. 80
Variety
6 Jan 1922
p. 43
Variety
24 Jan 1919
p. 14
Wid's Daily
25 Mar 1921
---
Wid's Daily
25 Apr 1921
p. 2
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
SET DECORATOR
Set dec
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the short story "The Superman" by Fannie Hurst, in Saturday Evening Post (20 Jun 1914).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
DETAILS
Alternate Title:
The Superman
Release Date:
11 December 1921
Premiere Information:
New York opening: 1 Jan 1922; Los Angeles opening: week of 8 Jan 1922
Production Date:
began late Mar 1921
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Cosmopolitan Productions
11 December 1921
LP17354
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in feet):
6,173, 6,208
Length(in reels):
7
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Ma Birdsong, her son Jimmie, and her daughter Essie live together in New York City's East Side. Essie, enamored with the city's night life, becomes an usherette in a cheap theater where she falls in love with Joe Ullman, a crooked ticket speculator. Her ailing mother repeatedly asks to meet Essie's fiancé, but Joe always has a ready excuse to decline. Following a heart attack, Ma makes another plea to meet Joe. Essie finds him in a poolroom, but he scornfully refuses to accompany her. In desperation, Essie relates her story to a stranger; he agrees to pose as the girl’s fiancé for the sake of her mother. Ma Birdsong dies, secure in the thought that Essie is to marry "a real man." Essie later falls in love with the stranger and they ...

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Ma Birdsong, her son Jimmie, and her daughter Essie live together in New York City's East Side. Essie, enamored with the city's night life, becomes an usherette in a cheap theater where she falls in love with Joe Ullman, a crooked ticket speculator. Her ailing mother repeatedly asks to meet Essie's fiancé, but Joe always has a ready excuse to decline. Following a heart attack, Ma makes another plea to meet Joe. Essie finds him in a poolroom, but he scornfully refuses to accompany her. In desperation, Essie relates her story to a stranger; he agrees to pose as the girl’s fiancé for the sake of her mother. Ma Birdsong dies, secure in the thought that Essie is to marry "a real man." Essie later falls in love with the stranger and they marry.

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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.