#55 – Lodge-House, The

(1915, US, 65 min, b/w) Dir Rudolph Henry Barrett. Cast Thoda Deane, Thomas Meecham, Alice Batt.

One of only six films made in the space of eighteen months by the unknown Thoda Deane who was being positioned by upstart company Star Film Productions as a ‘vamp’ rival to the likes of Theda Bara, Valeska Suratt and so on. Unlike the other five The Lodge-House was a success, even inspiring a minor craze in ‘cat’ collars (although I’m not sure what these are exactly). Unfortunately for Deane that success didn’t transmute into popularity for herself and soon enough she was, like so many others, tossed aside for the next in line. With all prints lost pretty much everything we know about The Lodge-House comes from posters and lobby cards that survive and there aren’t many of those. The most substantial source is an issue of Film Explosion found in a Long Island coal bunker in 1982 which includes a summary of the plot as such: “Mean Deane is at it again and this time she has Meek Tommy Meecham in her sights. Can he resist? Can YOU? Sweet Alice Batt will have to fight for her man in the ‘Lodge-House’ of SIN that she calls HOME! She demands PEARLS! She demands DIAMONDS! She demands THE WORLD!!” As you’ll admit, that’s some pretty vague stuff. The pictures show a pretty boilerplate melodrama of the day enlivened by the striking Deane with her slim face and big, dark, cavernous eyes and the set of the Lodge-House itself, which looks like an Orientalist’s opium nightmare.

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Twitter: @MadeUpFilms

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