Awkward Proposals of the Silent Era: Wallace Reid and Cleo Ridgely


Marriage proposals can be a challenge. Must it always be the man to pop the question? Should it be a formal affair, a crazy bit or creativity or just a casual, “Hey, you wanna get hitched?”

Or, you can always forget all that and just grab your love’s arm and demand that she marry you now, now, now. That was the approach adopted by Wallace Reid in the 1915 Cecil B. DeMille potboiler The Golden Chance. He didn’t even bother framing it as a question. He uses just plain future tense.

Shockingly, Cleo Ridgely turns him down. Even more shocking is the fact that it’s not due to his attitude. No, it’s because she’s married already.

According to DeMille’s memoirs, Ridgely was a last minute replacement in the film. The original leading lady showed up drunk to the set and Cleo stepped in when it was clear that the film could not be made with a non-functioning lead.

(You can read my full-length review here.)

Availability: The Golden Chance was released on DVD by Image bundled with Don’t Change Your Husband. The disc is out-of-print but used copies do show up.

Joan the Woman (1916) A Silent Film Review

Cecil B. DeMille’s first historical epic takes on the life of Joan of Arc. An intriguing, uneven and thoroughly entertaining spectacle, the films stars operatic soprano Geraldine Farrar as the doomed Maid of Orleans and the tragic Wallace Reid as her chief antagonist and romancer-in-chief. What’s that? The real Joan didn’t have a romancer-in-chief? La la la la, not listening!
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The Golden Chance (1915) A Silent Film Review

Cinderella has ulterior motives in this early DeMille melodrama. Mary Denby is a judge’s daughter who married below her station. With her husband drinking away the household income, she applies for work as a seamstress. The new job puts her in contact with a rich family who decide to use her beauty and charm to their advantage in business dealings. Nice people.

Continue reading “The Golden Chance (1915) A Silent Film Review”