Joseph Urban and Cosmopolitan Films

The Young Diana

"The Young Diana" is a lost film that was Cosmopolitan Productions Number 27. Director Albert Capellani began working on the film in April of 1921, with a scenario by Luther Reed. It was based on the 1918 novel The Young Diana; an Experiment of the Future, a Romance by Marie Corelli.

Robert G. Vignola took over as director and may have reshot all of Capellani's work. The film was not released until August 27, 1922.

The father of young Diana May (Marion Davies) wishes to marry her to British nobility although she is in love with Commander Richard Cleeve (Forrest Stanley), and is pursued by Dr. Dimitrius (Pedro de Cordoba), a scientist in search of the "elixir of youth."

In a plot twist, Diana is convinced that Cleeve has married someone else, and twenty years later, as an old unmarried woman, seeks Dr. Dimitrius's help in Switzerland to regain her youth. His elixir works, bringing back her beauty, but the twenty years turns out to have been only a dream, and the film ends with Diana and Richard's marriage.

Shown here from Urban's Scrapbook Number 3 are two photographs of the Main Hall in May Castle, and the Laboratory in May Castle.

This photograph shows Urban's set for the Sun Parlor in the May Country Home.

For this "Paris Opera" scene, Urban reused a design that he had created for his first Metropolitan Opera production, Faust, that had its first performance on November 17, 1917. Astonishingly, his production was still in use in 1951.

Shown below is Urban's drawing for the Church scene in Act IV of Faust. The November 17, 1917 performance was conducted by Pierre Monteux with Giovanni Martinelli as Faust, Geraldine Farrar as Marguerite, and Leon Rothier as Mephistopheles. It was the Met debut for Monteux as well as for Joseph Urban.

Shown here is a photograph of Urban's Ice Rink scene, along with William Randolph Hearst's letter that appears to congratulate Urban for his work on "The Young Diana" in creating the "snow carnival" scene. Hearst's mention of "the ball of the Gods" is a reference to a scene in "Restless Sex" of 1920.

Variety annunced that skater Bobby McLean had invented a new process for "painting" ice onto a wooden surface, eliminating the need for water and refridgeration. This process was first used in the production of this film.

Urban's set for the very futuristic laboratory of Dr. Dimitrius is shown here, with Marion Davies as an old woman in the top photograph.

Exhibitor's Herald reported "it is hard to realize that the harsh features, drooping form and unlovely hair are those of Miss Davies. The transformation from this character back to her own beautiful self is almost startling."

This scene is of Dr. Dimitrius's study, but it also includes table and chairs designed by Joseph Urban. The drawings for the chairs below give an idea of the colors.

The table and chairs were on display in Urban's Wiener Werkst├Ątte of America showrooms on Fifth Avenue in New York, that opened on June 9, 1922, two months and two weeks before the premier of "The Young Diana."

While the WW of American was certainly an artistic success, financially it was not and very little was actually purchased. The displays were later moved to the Art Institute of Chicago, and were shown in three rooms during September and October of 1922. But most of the items remained unsold, including Gustav Klimpt's magnificent painting "The Dancer" now on permanent display at the Neue Galerie here in New York.

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