Joseph Urban and Cosmopolitan Films

Janice Meredith

"Janice Meredith" was Cosmopolitan Productions Number 51, and is known to exist, but only in the version that was edited for a British audience and marketed with the title "The Beautiful Rebel."

It was directed by E. Mason Hopper, based on a novel by Paul Leiscester Ford, with scenario by Lillie Hayward. Gretl Urban designed the costumes.

For the premier and long run of the film at the Cosmopolitan Theatre, Joseph Urban designed a special curtain, and Nicol Schattenstein created large portraits of Miss Davies based on the film. The musical score was written by Deems Taylor and performed by an orchestra conducted by Frederick Stahlberg. Victor Herbert contributed the "Cosmopolitan March."

From the TCM website: Following a disappointment in love, Lord Brereton (Harrison Ford) assumes the name of Charles Fownes, arranges passage to the American Colonies as a bondservant, arriving in 1774. He finds a place with Squire Meredith (Macklyn Arbuckle), a wealthy Tory New Jersey landowner. When Charles falls in love with the squire’s daughter, Janice (Marion Davies), she is sent to live with an aunt in Boston.

Janice learns of the planned British troop movement to the Lexington arsenal and gives the warning that results in Paul Revere’s ride. Charles becomes an aide to Washington (Joseph Kilgour). When he is captured by the British, Janice arranges his escape and later helps him learn the disposition of the British troops at Trenton. Janice returns to her home and agrees to marry Philemon Hennion (Olin Howland), an aristocrat of her father’s choosing.

Charles and some Continental troops halt the wedding and confiscate the Meredith lands. Janice flees to Philadelphia, and Charles follows her. He is arrested but is freed when the British General Howe (George Nash), recognizes Charles as his old friend, Lord Brereton. Janice and her father retire with the British to Yorktown.

During the bombardment by Washington’s forces, Lord Clowes (Holbrook Blinn) binds Janice and abducts her in his coach. Charles rescues her. With peace restored, Janice and Charles meet at Mount Vernon, where they are to be married in the presence of President Washington. W. C. Fields, making his film debut, is a comic, drunken British sergeant.

For the film, a village of fifty-eight houses representing the village of Trenton, New Jersey, was built in Plattsburgh, New York based on 1776 maps and prints, and the Saranac River doubled for the Delaware. Other scenes were filmed on Lake Placid.

For this film based on actual history, Urban again assembled a large number of Reference photographs,  now in Joseph Urban Collection Box C15 and C16.

This photograph shows the exterior of the Meredith home on the kitchen side, here in winter.

Shown here are two views of a Coffee House set.

From the printed program for the film, the still for this scene has the caption: "Janice Meredith (Marion Davies) and her friends arrive at the Boston Coffee House."

For this scene, Urban recreated the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles.

The printed program that accompanied screenings of the film includes a still from this scene with the caption: "Benjamin Franklin pleads for aid for America before King Louis XVI at Versailles." Franklin was played by Lee Beggs.

Two different scenes for Paul Revere's Shop. Ken Maynard played Paul Revere.

In Urban's Scrapbook Number 5, this scene is labeled "Interior of Washington's Tent." George Washington was played by Joseph Kilgour.

These photos show scenes for the Ralls Dining room and Living Room with the third showing the scene after the destruction of battle. Since the existing film was cut to distribute to a British audience, the Rall family portion of the film may not now exist, and the name of Rall is not included in the online cast lists.

However, the program for the Premier and long run of the film at the Cosmopolitan Theatre lists George Siegmann as Colonel Rahl, also known as Johann Rall, the commander of a Hessian Brigade fighting for Great Britain, who was killed at the Battle of Trenton before he could surrender to George Washington, and who is thought to be buried in Trenton.

In the program, the still for the scene entitled "The rescue of Jack Brereton by Janice and Washington's troops" appears to take place in the destroyed Rall or Rahl living room, shown below.

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