The Thanhouser Co. has reissued a number of its surviving films on video. FIRES OF YOUTH existed at around 52 minutes in its original release. A shortened version running just over 31 minutes has survived at the George Eastman House and has now been released by Thanhouser. Jeanne Eagels does well as the neglected young daughter in a factory town. She appears in 22 scenes and delivers a sensitive performance. Facially she is reminiscent of a cross between opera star Joan Sutherland and actress Barbara O’Neil.
Old Man Pemberton is hated by all the workers due to his low wages and unsafe working conditions. The old man is a martinet, living alone in his mansion, until a boy discovers him and they bond. He is intrigued to learn how he is hated and decides to join the workers incognito as a fellow employee (shades of the later THE MORE THE MERRIER). He is an old man but attracted to the young boy’s sister (Eagels) and hopes for a May/December romance. Frederick Warde does a fine job as Old Man Pemberton and Eagels once again shows her innate talent and subtle acting techniques. The print is in fine condition. The video also includes the first film adaptation of SHE and it proves an intriguing antique accompaniment. Recommended for Eagels.
Director: Emile Chautard
Writer: Agnes Christine Johnston
Stars: Frederick Warde, Helen Badgley, Ernest Howard