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How a French Nobleman Got a Wife Through the New York Herald “Personal” Column
Also known as New Version of Personal in the USA : {How a French Nobleman Got a Wife Through the New York Herald Personal Columns}
(1904) American
B&W : 675 feet
Directed by Edwin S. Porter

Cast: (unknown)

Edison Manufacturing Company production; distributed by Edison Manufacturing Company. / Cinematography by Edwin S. Porter. / © 26 August 1904 by Thomas A. Edison [H49524]. Released September 1904. / Standard 35mm spherical 1.33:1 format. / A copy-cat version of Biograph’s Personal (1904), made scene-for-scene on the same locations. The film was also sold in individual scenes: “Personal” Ad. and “Nobleman”; Grant’s Tomb; Riverside Drive; Across the Fields; Down the Sand Bank; Through the Woods; Rail Fence; Down the Pike; and Caught at Last. The film was illegally duplicated and distributed in the USA in a pirated edition by Lubin Manufacturing Company as New Version of Personal (1904).

Comedy.

Synopsis: [From Edison promotional materials] The picture opens with a “Personal” advertisement which actually appeared in the New York Herald of August 25th, 1904: “Young French Nobleman, recently arrived, desires to meet wealthy American girl; object matrimony; will be at Grant’s Tomb at 10 this morning, wearing boutonniere of violets.” The first scene shows the young “Nobleman” in his dressing room. He picks up the “Herald,” and finally locates his “ad” with evident satisfaction. He then fastens a large bunch of violets to the lapel of his coat and departs for the rendezvous. The next scene shows the “Nobleman” at Grant’s Tomb, pacing impatiently back and forth. Soon a handsome young lady passes him, and seeing the violets, mutual recognition quickly follows. Another lady soon arrives, and others in rapid succession until the young Frenchman is completely surrounded. He finally escapes and runs for his life down the Riverside Drive, pursued by a dozen or more of his fair would-be captors, a stout lady in white bringing up the rear. He leads the girls a merry chase over sand banks, fallen trees, through bushes, over rail fences, and finally escapes, as he thinks, by wading into a pond up to his waist. The girls finally reach the pond and stand on the bank, imploring him to come ashore. But the Frenchman pays no heed to them. Finally the stout lady, who has been last throughout the entire race, arrives upon the scene, and without hesitating for an instant she dashes into the water and finally captures first prize and a titled husband into the bargain, again proving the old adage that “The race is not always to the swift.” All the New York papers took notice of the “Personal” in humorous articles. From “Town Topics” of September 1st we quote the following: “The esteemed ‘Herald’ — which should know better — published last Thursday in its ‘Personal’ column the following bogus advertisement of a moving picture concern: YOUNG French nobleman, recently arrived, desires to meet wealthy American girl; object matrimony; will be at Grant’s Tomb at 10 this morning, wearing boutonniere of violets. It is well known throughout Europe that wealthy American girls are in the habit of lying in wait at the Battery for any impoverished foreign nobleman who may chance to arrive in the second cabin or the steerage, and if missed there, of hunting them down in Washington Square, Central Park, Grant’s Tomb, and other habitats of such game. Upon this national characteristic the advertisement was framed. It caused much excitement and more grief at Newport, Narragansett Pier and in country houses, because of the physical impossibility, even with fast horses and special trains, of getting the wealthy American girls on the ground at the early hour named by the young French nobleman. To this unfortunate fact is to be attributed the absence of wealthy American girls for the rendezvous. But their places were taken by impecunious American girls, hired for the occasion, who posed for the photographer and will be regarded in Europe as marriage-mad heiresses when seen in the pictures at fairs and music-halls.” Sold complete or in separate scenes.

Survival status: Print exists.

Current rights holder: Public domain.

Keywords: Chases - Fences - USA: New York: New York: Riverside Drive: Grant’s Tomb

Listing updated: 4 May 2012.

References: Leyda-Before pp. 42, 115; Niver-First p. 60; Robinson-Palace pp. 122, 123; Sklar-Movie p. 29 : Website-AFI.

Home video: BD, DVD.

 
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