Joseph Urban and Cosmopolitan Films

Adam and Eva

"Adam and Eva" was Cosmopolitan Productions Number 39.

Directed by Robert G. Vignola, the film was based on a play by Guy Bolton and George Middleton, with scenario by Luther Reed. It was released on February 11, 1923.

The Library of Congress holds just Reel 5 of the 8 reel film.

As described in Photoplay: Eva (Marion Davies), the daughter of millionaire James King (Tom Lewis), spends money wastefully and enjoys life wonderfully. Her elder sister Julie (Luella Gear) and her husband Clinton Dewitt (Leon Gordon) live in the King mansion, content to share the wealthy man's fortunes.

Among Eva's admirers are Dr. Delamater (William Davidson) and Lord Andrew Gordon (Percy Ames), each financially weak and desiring a rich wife. Old James is nearly driven mad by his daughter's extravagances.

His South American representative Adam Smith (T. Roy Barnes) comes to New York City to see him. James suddenly announces that he will go to South America for a few months and leaves Adam in charge of his family and the Gotham City business interests. While James is gone, Adam falls in love with Eva but is unable to curb her spendthrift ways until he comes up with the idea of declaring that her father is ruined, which brings matters to a climax.

Confronted by poverty, Eva rises to the occasion, makes her sister go to work as well as her Uncle Horace (William Norris), and goes to live on a farm belonging to her father. There, with her sister and aided by Adam, she proceeds to raise eggs and honey for the markets. The family works hard. One day James returns to be stunned with the news that his previously ne'er-do-wells have turned over a new leaf and are making good. When the family learns the truth about James, they do not regret the lesson they have learned. 

Urban designed these versions of the set for a scene at Lucile's with many layers of resonance. It would be taken for granted that Eva, as the daughter of a millionaire, would be fitted by Lucile, and would attend her fashioin shows. From existing stills, it was the lower design, with a wider curtain area, that was used in the film.

By 1923, Lucile (Lady Duff Gordon, 1863-1935) had coutour establishments in London, Paris, Chicago and New York. In 1915 she began designing costumes for the Ziegfeld Follies after Billie Burke, wife of Florenz Ziegfeld, took her husband to one of Lucile's shows.

An additional irony to the story being told in the film is that Marion Davies had originally been one of Lucile's models before joining the Follies in 1916 to become one of the Ziegfeld Girls.

But the further layer of wonder for these scene designs is that they could be taken as photographs of an actual room in Joseph Urban's Wiener Werkst├Ątte of America Fifth Avenue showroom, in operation only for a few months during the summer of 1922. The chairs, designed by Urban, had gilded wooden frames and red-and-white-striped silk upholstery.

The scenes shown here are of James King's Library, as well as the King Mansion's Sun Parlor. Other photographs is Urban's Scrapbook Number 4 include King's Office, Hall, and Dining Room.

Some of "Adam and Eva" was shot on location in Stamford, Connecticut. For this sequence set in Venice, Italy, one magazine article said, "A little bit of Venice with its winding canals and its picturesque gondolas was transported to the hills of Connecticut." Please note the Jazz ensemble shown on the barge in the second photograph.

For the scenes set on the King Farm, Urban's Scrapbook Number 4 includes the sets for the Farm's Shipping Department, and the Dining Room of the Farm House.

The February 24, 1923 issue of Exhibitors Trade Review states that Marion Davies "is equally at home in the trappings of wealth or the plain, rustic dress of the farm maiden, carries both with inimitable grace and her work in the role is excellent."

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