The Red Kimono

Overview

Three of Hollywood's more enterprising women created this sentimental treatise on sin and redemption: Mrs. Wallace Reid the former actress Dorothy Davenport produced and co-directed with Walter Lang and Dorothy Arzner's screenplay was based on a story by influential journalist Adela Rogers St. Johns. Priscilla Bonner starred as Gabrielle Darley, a real-life prostitute acquitted of murdering her procurer in 1917. Left in a New Orleans brothel by a bounder she mistakenly believed to be her fiancé, Gabrielle tracks ...
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Overview

Three of Hollywood's more enterprising women created this sentimental treatise on sin and redemption: Mrs. Wallace Reid the former actress Dorothy Davenport produced and co-directed with Walter Lang and Dorothy Arzner's screenplay was based on a story by influential journalist Adela Rogers St. Johns. Priscilla Bonner starred as Gabrielle Darley, a real-life prostitute acquitted of murdering her procurer in 1917. Left in a New Orleans brothel by a bounder she mistakenly believed to be her fiancé, Gabrielle tracks down the man Carl Miller in a Los Angeles jewelry shop and kills him in cold blood. Immediately regretting her brutal act, Gabrielle is resigned to her fate when the jury surprisingly returns a verdict of not guilty. A free woman, Gabrielle wants to change her wayward life by becoming a nurse, but is instead invited to live in the palatial Wilshire Boulevard estate of Mrs. Fontaine Virginia Pearson. With Freddy the chauffeur Theodore Von Eltz as her only ally, Gabrielle is cruelly paraded in front of Mrs. Fontaine's society friends, some of whom "have skipped a matinee to see you." Tiring of the notoriety quickly enough, Mrs. Fontaine arranges for an interview with the local hospital, knowing full well that Gabrielle's sordid past will prohibit her ever becoming a nurse. Distraught and penniless, Gabrielle returns to New Orleans, never realizing that Freddy is desperately searching for her. Chased by a pimp in the French Quarter, the exhausted girl runs out into the crowded street and is hit by a passing car. While recovering in the hospital, she fortuitously learns that the hospital needs personnel due to the devastating influenza epidemic and is soon employed as a cleaning woman. It is in the hospital where she is finally found by Freddy as he arrives with soldiers wounded overseas. Despite being shipped off to fight the war in Europe the following day, the former chauffeur vows to return and make Gabrielle his wife. A huge box-office success, The Red Kimono ended up nearly bankrupting Mrs. Reid when the real Gabrielle Darley sued for libel. In the end, Darley won a huge settlement that included the Beverly Hills home which Reid had shared with her late husband, 1910s matinee-idol Wallace Reid.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Hans J. Wollstein
Opening with Mrs. Wallace Reid (the former Dorothy Davenport) vouching for the authenticity of her story -- a decision that would come back to haunt her -- The Red Kimono remains a fascinating if melodramatic study of women's limited options in the first decades of the 20th century. Although the symbolism is sometimes ladled on a bit thick -- the heroine's red kimono, the scarlet sign of her degradation, is tinted throughout the otherwise black-and-white film -- Mrs. Reid's morality play remains a valuable account of a bygone era, fascinatingly filmed on location in both Los Angeles and New Orleans' French Quarter. Best known as Harold Langdon's girl in a couple of his more memorable feature comedies, Priscilla Bonner proved a fine choice to portray the unfortunate Gabrielle, a girl who just couldn't get a break. Bonner, who many years later elaborated on her work with Mrs. Reid in Jeffrey Goodman and Anthony Slide's illuminating The Silent Feminists (1993), mostly avoids the pathos that the role otherwise invited, and Theodore Von Eltz, an actor usually cast as unfeeling cads, makes a stalwart hero this time around. Beautifully restored by the Library of Congress, The Red Kimono received its much anticipated television premiere on cable station TCM in 2000.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/22/2008
  • UPC: 738329060428
  • Original Release: 1925
  • Rating:

  • Source: Kino Video
  • Presentation: B&W
  • Time: 1:20:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 67,658

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Priscilla Bonner Gabrielle Darley
Max Asher jeweler
Nellie Bly Baker Clara
Mary Carr matron
Dorothy Davenport herself
Theodore Von Eltz Freddy the chauffeur
Dot Farley The Inquisitive One
Emily Fitzroy Fontaine housekeeper
Sheldon Lewis district attorney
Carl Miller Howard Blaine
Virginia Pearson Mrs. Fontaine
Tyrone Power Sr. Mr. Darley
Mrs. Wallace Reid
George Siegmann Mr. Mack
Technical Credits
Dorothy Davenport Director, Producer
Walter Lang Director
Mrs. Wallace Reid Director, Producer
Dorothy Arzner Original Story, Screenwriter
James Diamond Cinematographer
Adela Rogers St. John Screenwriter
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Red Kimona
2. Opening Titles [2:59]
3. Happier Times [3:00]
4. Human Bondage [3:00]
5. A New Beginning [3:00]
6. The Chauffeur [3:00]
7. Her Gethsemane [:03]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Red Kimona
   Play Film
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