Moving Picture World, January 13, 1914
THE ADVENTURES OF KATHLYN NO. 2—THE TWO ORDEALS (Special—2 parts—Jan. 12).
Kathlyn quickly recovers from the curious sensation of being forced to occupy an unwelcome throne in compliance with the scheming councilors of a fanatical people. The high priest prepares to go on with the ceremony of marrying her to Umballah, who is the mainspring of all her troubles; but she conserves all her powers of resistance to this proceeding, and with the dominant force of the Anglo-Saxon, for the time cowes the superstitious brown men who hover about the throne. This causes a delay on their part, which she Instantly takes advantage of and the Council of Three, coerced by public spirit, decide that she will be given a week in which to consent to the marriage. Thus ends the sentimental episode in the gorgeous festival of the Durbar. During this horrible week of respite for the captive queen, a high caste native, Ramabai, is charged with murder, and under the law, all his property reverts to the reigning sovereign, including even his wife. In this instance, the wife is a beautiful young person. Pundita, highly educated. Kathlyn at once frees the captive, as far as slavery is concerned; and Pundita, in gratitude, begs to remain with her until she learns the fate of her husband. When Kathlyn hears her story, she orders Ramabai brought before her and declares him Innocent. He, in turn, craves permission to remain in the palace, as the queen’s personal bodyguard. Thus Kathlyn, by fate and force, secures for her personal service, two powerful factors In her favor (who remain with her throughout this series of plays). During this trying period, while Kathlyn has all her wits working to thwart the connivance of the crafty people about her; Bruce, an American sportsman, happens upon the scene from the far interior, where he has been hunting big game, and at once becomes a hero In spite of himself.
Kathlyn still refusing the alliance with Umballah, the council has decreed that she must submit to two ordeals with wild animals. If she survives these, she will be permitted to occupy the throne like Elizabeth of old, as a maiden queen. Bruce, learning of her plight, has managed to communicate with her. and swears himself her life champion. Pundita communicates with Bruce the circumstances of the ordeals. In the first test Kathlyn is dragged to a leopard’s trap, and lashed to the mainstay of the deadfall as a human bait to lure the spotted cat from the depths of the jungle. She is so secured that the heavy door will fall the moment the animal springs upon It. It would seem that there is no hope of escape. The faithful Pundita, however, has informed her that Bruce will not fail to appear at the proper moment. Now comes the stealthy leopard closer and closer to the trap.
At the last moment there is a flash, but It is not the form of the leopard hurtling through the air, but Bruce. Even as the heavy door falls, the famished, frenzied cat is clawing at it, trying to break through. Bruce fires at the animal through the bars and it limps back to the jungle, broken from his fire. While Kathlyn has escaped from the beast by a seeming marvel, for the second time she refuses the request of the Council, to marry the villainous man that dominates them. She is ordered to an amphitheater, where the populace assemble to witness her fate as the refractory leader of their community. Bruce, now more wonderfully resourceful than ever in Kathlyn’s interest, appears before the high priest and the Council and tells them that a miracle will save the Queen from the jaws of the savage lions, biit If they compel her to submit to such a cruel ordeal, the same force will destroy many of the people assembled to witness her death. The impressionable people shrink at this idea: but stern Umballah mocks at him and orders him driven out.
That same night we see Bruce and Ramabai meet at the bouse of a high caste native. Ramabai is the leader of a band of high minded conspirators, whose object is to uplift the people and secure better government. They lead Bruce to a secluded place where are hidden land-mines, which have been smuggled by Revolutionists into Allaha, In view of impending military troubles. These mines, with electrical appliances for operation, are loaded on elephants, and then, under cover of night, the little band enter the silent and deserted arena of the amphitheater, bury the mines, and connect them with wires leading to a box on the lower amphitheater. The great day comes. The hungry lions are shown in their dens; the populace crowd in the stalls : and then comes Kathlyn, the beautiful captive, regal even in her simple robes of white, who is led into the arena. She walks to the far end, and stands under a canopy designed as a resting place for athletes between their feats. Umballah and the Council are in the royal box. The keeper opens the door, and the famished lions rush into the arena. They see the shining human mark; they crouch their lean, sinewy bodies for the fatal spring. The scene flashes back to the shadowy box where Bruce Is manipulating the push-down of a blasting machine. As be establishes the connection, there is a rush—a roar and the volcano of earth and stone bursts In the arena, leaving in its litter a great gash between Kathlyn and the savage lions. The spectators flee in panic, leaving many dead and wounded. Bruce leaps down from his box into the arena and seizes Kathlyn in his arms, as the scene dims.
He touches her hand and kisses it.
The First Ordeal.
Moving Picture World, January 17, 1914
THE remarkable series of photodramas under the title. “The Adventures of Kathlyn,” is based on Harold MacGrath’s fictional work of that name, the photodramatic adaptation being made by Gilson Willets, also a well-known author and literary man. The entire series forms a serial story in thirteen sets. The first set. already released, thirteen took up three reels, making twenty-seven reels in all. The sets will be released so that two weeks will intervene between any one and that immediately following, thus requiring twenty-six weeks for the showing of the entire series.
These films mark not only a new departure in production and in the method of treating a prolonged subject, but they will also establish a new standard for all who follow, in the domain of perilous adventure and thrilling photodramatic narrative. One thrill succeeds another so rapidly that the spectator is out of breath, mentally, in trying to keep abreast of them: and the atmosphere of Orientalism that prevails throughout adds a feeling of mysticism that reminds one of the days long ago, when the Arabian transported us into a new heaven and a new earth.
Director F. J. Grandon has brought himself into the lime-light by the art and skill shown in the action and settings of these photodramas. His task was arduous at all times, for the scenario demands the performance of big things and nice attention to detail. Massive exteriors and interiors, impressive spectacles and weird, grim ruins bear witness to this. The hoary, mouldering Parsee temple, with its lone, prowling lion, has a haunting influence on one’s mind. The harem scene is finely set. The imposing durbar scene; the great concourse of people, as they assemble to hear the final decision of the Council of Three on the fate of Allaha’s unwilling queen the fete-day scene, and the arena, where she confronts a host of hungry lions, and her rescue from the burning pyre by the pon- derous elephant are some of the other striking spectacular fea- tures of sets number two and three.
In all these, Miss Kathlyn Williams, as the queen of Allaha, is the great compelling figure on which every eye is centered. She is the mainspring of the action and of interest; and she is so continuously beset by dangers and seemingly insurmountable odds that one unconsciously commiserates her on her fancied woes. But some of the dangers are not at all fanciful. It takes a stout heart and a fearless spirit to stand alone before twenty lions or more, not one of which is the proverbial circus lion “all gums and no teeth.” Miss Williams is fairly bewitching through it all. I don’t think I havever seen her in pictures to finer advantage. She is always equal to the demands of the occa- sion, and is always ready for other exploits.
Other principals in sets two and three are Charles Clary, as Prince Umballah ; William Carpenter, as Ramabai; Thomas Santschi, as Bruce Cthe .American hunter) ; Miss Goldie Cold- well, as Pundita, and Hurri Tsingh (a native Hindoo), as the high priest. All are to be commended for excellent acting, costuming and make-up.
The opening scene of set number two shows the durbar, where the Council of Three decides that Kathlyn, on her refusal to become the wife of Umballah, shall be given a week’s respite.
During the week she rescues Ramabai from a false charge of murder made by Umballah and also frees his wife. Pundita, appointing the latter her lady-in-waiting, and Ramabai captain of her bodyguard. At the same time Bruce, an American hunter of big game, arrives in Allaha and proves a timely factor in the fortunes of Kathlyn.
Still refusing to wed Umballah, at the end of the fateful week, the Council of Three decrees that Kathlyn must undergo two will entitle her to remain a maiden queen. The first required that Kathlyn should be human bait on a leopard’s trap; the second that she should be cast into the arena with hungry lions. She escapes in both instances by the aid of Bruce, whose aid has been secured by Pundita. In the second test Bruce blows up the great arena by a hidden mine of powder, which he had placed there. The final scene in set number two shows Bruce rescuing Kathlyn from the arena.
Number three continues the rescue, showing Kathlyn and Bruce fleeing through the forest on the backs of two elephants. Kathlyn’s mount takes fright at a baboon, just as Bruce had alighted from his beast to secure water. The frightened animal easily outdistanced that ridden by Bruce and carried Kathlyn to a town in a neighboring state, where she was immediately recognized by a high official and arrested. This official condemned her to die on a funeral pyre, on the ground that she had broken the laws of her own state by refusing to wed Umballah. Just in the nick of time she is saved by the arrival of her elephant, which had heard her cries.
The elephant traveled all day. and at nightfall stopped at the ruins of a great temple. There Kathlyn dismounted and sought refuge in the ruins for the night. A huge lion, which made the temple his home, approached her, but she escaped by hiding in a great sarcophagus. In the morning she was discovered by the high priest of the temple, who worshipped her as the high priestess. Food was brought her and she was appointed to keep the sacred fire burning day and night. The closing scene in number three shows Kathlyn fleeing for her life from the lion of the temple.
Set number two will be released January 12th.