by Kelley Smoot Garrett
This page shows the innocence that precedes each era before the current one, when each generation sees itself more enured, more hardened, than the previous.
In the time Letitia conceived and wrote Princess April Morning-Glory, it was unthinkable to show graphic, violent scenes, especially within her family’s moral and creative spirit. In 1922, Letitia’s uncle & family patriarch Douglas Fairbanks described his thinking when transferring the character of d’Artagnan from Alexander Dumas novel The Three Musketeers to the screen noted:
It was hard to make a picture out of [d’Artagnan.] It sounded all right in the book, but when you showed it in the picture you had to show men being run thru with swords and dying… that could have been a horrible thing. We steered away from the idea that he was killing people and that the people were dying by always giving his fights a comic finish.1
So while honest competition in the form of athletic sword-play was encouraged, outright violence and brutality were not given any airtime.
Thus Letitia utilized a standard Hollywood chestnut to allow Princess April to accomplish her goals in a non-violent fashion: drug your opponent into submission! No one is killed, no one is even maimed – just temporarily incapacitated and left to live another day and lick their wounds.
Till next week, dear readers….
1 Douglas Fairbanks, “Kind of Crazy,” Motion Picture Magazine 24, no. 10 (November 1922): 43. 94.