Make your own free website on Tripod.com


KEEPER OF THE BEES
click title to view picture(s) of this feature!

PRESERVATION STATUS: A trailer of this film exists at The UCLA Film Archive.

Gene Stratton Porter Productions. Distributed by the Film Booking Offices of America. ca September 19, 1925 (Salt Lake City premiere; released October 18; copyright October 1925; LP21966). Silent; black & white. 35mm. 7 reels, 6712 ft.

Dir-Cont: James Leo Meehan. Camera: John Boyle. Asst.Dir: William Fisher.

Cast: Robert Frazer (James Lewis MacFarlane), Josef Swickard(Michael Worthington, the Bee Master), Martha Mattox(Margaret Cameron), Clara Bow (Alice Louise Cameron, "Lolly"), Alyce Mills (Molly Cameron), Gene Stratton (Jean Meredith, the "Little Scout"), Joe Coppa ("Angel Face"), Ainse Charland ("Fat Ole Bill"), Billy Osborne ("Nice Child").

Melodrama. Source: Gene Stratton Porter, "The Keeper of the Bees" (1925: Garden City, New York)

World War hero James Lewis MacFarlane, tired of being shunted from one government hospital to another for a wound that will not heal, runs away when he learns that he has but a year to live. He is befriended by The Bee Master, who is ill and soon dies. Jamie inherits half of the estate and apiary, with the other half going to "Little Scout," an 11-year-old girl who dresses as a boy. He marries a girl about to drown herself because she is to bear a child out of wedlock; his "wife" disappears immediately afterward, leaving a not signed "Alice Louise MacFarlane." With the aid of a neighbor, Margaret Cameron, Jamie soon recovers his health. He is notified that his "wife" has given birth to a son, but when he arrives at the hospital Jamie discovers another woman wearing his ring. She dies, and Molly Cameron (Mrs. Cameron's daughter), the girl he really married, appears and confesses that she married Jamie to get her sister Alice a wedding ring and a marriage certificate to protect her reputation. All ends well, and Jamie remarries Molly. (From "The American Film Institute Catalogue of Feature Films")


(Variety Film Reviews 1921-1925): "This is the one about the girl who sinned and the fellow who took the blame. As usual, the fellow gets the devil bawled out of him by a self-sacrificing and tear stained mother, who later says she "understands." Truth of it all is that the older sister of the girl knew her predicament and married herself to the man under the girl's name so that the child would have a name.

All of which is hokey-pokey hoke and done in precisely the cheap manner which such stuff deserves.

The hero, James Lewis McFarlane, is in a government hospital and when he hears the medicos say he will probably be tubercular (and that's a nice thing to throw in the face of an audience) he skips from the hospital and walks for days to the sea. There he meets and old Bee Master who is ill and who asks the boy to stay at his place while he's in the hospital. The boy does, and there meets the sitster of the girl who is to have the child. That same girl's mother nurses him back to health.

Eventually the sister tricks him into marriage under the name of the sister who sinned, and after the sinning sister does a Camille on the deathbed (minus the coughing), the hero picks up the newly born babe, carries it out into the world and takes it home. Here the mother misunderstands, for the whole thing hadn't been explained to her, and it is only when the sister who actually married him fesses up, does the matter relent. Then the sister and ther hero meet by the side of the sea and go into a clinch.

Robert Frazer and Ayyce Mills of the cast are good, but Clara Bow acts all over the lot and aside from the weeping and swirling around, does little. Direction medium and production itself looks like a cheap proposition.

As a business getter, it doesn't look to be in the running."


BACK TO