Vintage original 8 x 10 in. US singe-weight matte photograph from the lost teens WWI-themed silent film drama, THE FIREFLY OF FRANCE, released in 1918 by Paramount Pictures and directed by Donald Crisp.
The image features an exterior shot of Lafayette Escadrille pilot Devereux Bayne (Wallace Reid) stepping into the cockpit of a vintage biplane as he gets a dressing-down from a superior officer while others stand nearby. It is in very fine condition as shown.*"The Firefly of France is a lost 1918 American silent drama film directed by Donald Crisp and written by Margaret Turnbull based upon a novelette by Marion Polk Angelotti. The film stars Wallace Reid, Ann Little, Charles Ogle, Raymond Hatton, Winter Hall, and Ernest Joy. The film was released on July 7, 1918, by Paramount Pictures."
*"Several sources note that Marion Polk Angellotti’s novel was serialized in The Saturday Evening Post. Principal photography took place at Famous Players-Lasky Corp.’s studio in Hollywood, CA, and ended by early May 1918, as indicated by items in the 16 February 1918 and 11 May 1918 issues of Motion Picture News. Later in May, the film negatives held at Famous Players-Lasky’s studio vault were threatened by a fire; according to a 26 May 1918 [Louisville, KY] Courier-Journal brief, director Donald Crisp personally “dashed in and carried the negatives” to safety. The June 1918 issue of Photoplay Magazine claimed that Lucile Zintheo, winner of the magazine’s recently held “Beauty and Brains Contest,” was given “important parts” in this picture and another Famous Players-Lasky release, Missing (1918, see entry). The National Film Preservation Board (NFPB) included this picture on its list of Lost U.S. Silent Feature Films as of February 2021.
As described in a film magazine, while the actions of Esme Falconer (Little) are suspicious, Devereux Bayne's (Reid) admiration for her forces him to believe in her. When her chauffeur is mysteriously killed, he drives her to a deserted chateau to protect her from French officers. But the officers get there first, and upon their arrival Devereux and Esme are made prisoners. Escaping through a secret door they come upon Jean, known as the Firefly (Hatton), who has important papers for France. The French officers turn out to be German officers in disguise and they demand the papers. Devereux gives them a false copy of the papers and manages to turn them over to the proper authorities. He wins the heart of Esme and a French Cross of Honor for his bravery."
*(source: AFI Catalog of Feature Films)
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