Australasian Cinema > films > Painted Daughters, 1925

Painted Daughters

Painted Daughters (F. Stuart-Whyte, 1925) Australasian Films, dp Lacey Percival; Zara Clinton, Nina Devitt, Billie Sim, Marie Lorraine, Loretta May, Fernande Butler, Lucille Lisle, Peggy Pryde, Belle Bates, Phyllis Du Barry, Rawdon Blandford, Martin Walker, William O'Hanlon, Compton Coutts, Billy Ryan, Herbert Walton, Grafton Williams, Roland Conway, Louis Witts, S. Hackett


With publicity promising 'a glorious whirl of perfect girl', Painted Daughters emerged as a romantic melodrama about high society and the 'flapper' generation. To the Sydney Morning Herald, 25 May 1925, it typified many local productions where more attention was paid to technical competence than to scenarios: 'For without some sort of dramatic interest, be it only primitive melodrama, their most painstaking film plays must become tedious.' It told the story of Mary Elliott and Courtland Nixon, dancing partners in the stage show, Floradora. ...
The film displayed considerable sophistication of treatment, especially in the luxurious jazz-age sets and the fashionable costumes of the women. The photography of Lacey Percival also displayed a high degree of skill and inventiveness, from the trick photography of the opening titles (with Father Time painting the lips of the star) to an impression of an alcoholic's attack of DTs (with doves flying out of a doorway), and the climactic fire sequence involving some convincing superimposition effects.
Shooting began early in 1925 at Australasian's studio at Rushcutters Bay, Sydney. The cast included many tyros, and Stuart-Whyte explained that he was 'inclined to pick types from the general public who will be suitable to the screen'. Accordingly he selected several applicants from a nation-wide 'Screen Test' that had been conducted in 1924 by Louise Lovely as a publicity gimmick for Union Theatres. One of the newcomers was Phyllis Du Barry, who went on to work in Hollywood through the 1930s as Phyllis Barry. Completed for less than £4000, Painted Daughters opened at the Lyceum and Lyric Wintergarden Theatres, Sydney, on 23 May 1925, with commercial success. Stuart-Whyte remained in Australia to commence work on the second Union Master production, Sunrise (completed in 1926 by Raymond Longford), before departing to the West Indies, apparently for another film. Pike & Cooper: 125-7.

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