|Directed by||Clarence Brown|
Charles Dorian (2nd unit)
|Produced by||Carl Laemmle|
|Written by||Melville W. Brown|
|Screenplay by||Sada Cowan|
|Story by||Sada Cowan|
|Starring||Laura La Plante|
|Edited by||Edward Schroeder|
7,356 feet on 8 reels
Smouldering Fires is a 1925 Universal silent drama film directed by Clarence Brown and starring Pauline Frederick and Laura La Plante. The movie's plot is similar to the 1933 talking picture Female, starring Ruth Chatterton.
Copies of this film are archived by UCLA and George Eastman House. In 1953, the film entered the public domain in the United States because the claimants did not renew its copyright registration in the 28th year after publication. It is available on video, and numerous prints exist in private collections.
At 40, businesswoman Jane Vale (Pauline Frederick) falls in love with a much younger Robert Elliott (Malcolm McGregor), an employee from her factory. She promotes him to the position of her private secretary, and out of gratitude and to defend her reputation from rumors, he asks her to marry him. However, before the marriage can take place, Jane's younger sister Dorothy (Laura La Plante) returns home from college and Robert and Dorothy fall in love. Lacking the courage to confess to Jane of his love for her sister, Robert marries Jane. Robert finds that the difference in ages between him and Jane are creating complications. When Jane realizes that Robert, though diligently attentive as a husband, is actually in love with her sister, she pretends that she has fallen out of love with him and seeks a divorce.
Reviewer Hal Erickson wrote that the film "is a first-rate silent 'soap opera', immaculately performed by its superb cast and brilliantly directed." While praising the American release version, he made note that the "slightly longer European version is even better, with some remarkably mature (albeit non-lurid) setpieces".
In The First Female Stars: Women of the Silent Era, author David W. Menefee writes that the film "presented Pauline (Frederick) in a memorable light, successfully carrying off the role of a woman business executive."
In Movies and American Society, author Steven J. Ross wrote that Smouldering Fires was "a cautionary tale of what happens when businesswomen become too successful."
- Laura La Plante as Dorothy Vale
- Malcolm McGregor as Robert Elliott
- Pauline Frederick as Jane Vale
- Tully Marshall as Scotty
- Wanda Hawley as Lucy
- Helen Lynch as Kate Brown
- George Cooper as Mugsy
- Arthur Lake as party guest
Members of "The Committee:"
- Bert Roach
- Billy Gould
- Rolfe Sedan
- Jack McDonald
- William Orlamond
- Frank Newburg
- Bobby Mack (as Robert Mack)
- Donald W. McCaffrey, Christopher P. Jacobs (1999). Donald W. McCaffrey, Christopher P. Jacobs (ed.). Guide to the silent years of American cinema (illustrated, annotated ed.). Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 246 247. ISBN 9780313303456.
- Hall, Mordaunt (March 31, 1925). "Smouldering Fires (1925)". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 November 2010.
- Pierce, David (June 2007). "Forgotten Faces: Why Some of Our Cinema Heritage Is Part of the Public Domain". Film History: An International Journal. 19 (2): 125–43. doi:10.2979/FIL.2007.19.2.125. ISSN 0892-2160. JSTOR 25165419. OCLC 15122313.
- "Pauline Frederick - Smouldering Fires (1925)". Stanford University. Retrieved 25 November 2010.
- Erickson, Hal. "review: Smouldering Fires". Allmovie. Retrieved 25 November 2010.
- Menefee, David W. (2004). The first female stars: women of the silent era (illustrated ed.). Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 69. ISBN 9780275982591.
- Steven J. Ross, ed. (2002). Movies and American society. Volume 10 of Blackwell readers in American social and cultural history (6, reprint ed.). Wiley-Blackwell. p. 69. ISBN 9780631219606.
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