USA, Norma Talmadge per Joseph M. Schenck Productions, 1924, 90 min
The copy was restored by L'Immagine Ritrovata lab with the participation of Gosfilmofond. Copy courtesy of Cineteca di Bologna. DCP
Scriptwriter: Frances Marion
Director: Frank Borzage
Cameraman: Tony Gaudio
Cast: Norma Talmadge, Eugene O'Brien, Patterson Dial, Emily Fitzroy, Claire McDowell, George Nichols, Harvey Clark
Producer Joseph M. Schenk (born Iosif Mikhailovich Sheinker) actively promoted the acting career of his wife, Norma Talmadge. In 1923, he invited a famous director Frank Borzage to make a film with her at United Studios. Borzage, who had begun his career as an actor back in 1912, was a virtuoso master of various genres (incidentally, he later made the famous "Seventh Heaven" (1927) - the first film drama awarded an Academy Award). Previously, these two filmmakers had already tried to work together, but Borzage was at the time forced to bow out due to illness. This time everything worked out.
“Secrets” is an entertaining adaptation of the eponymous play written by Rudolph Besier and May Edginton in 1922. In both USA and Great Britain, it was a resounding success, including among critics. The film became the peak of the career of Norma Talmadge, while Borzage was recognized as a first-rate director. A year later, he made another brilliant film with Talmadge, "The Lady". And in 1933 he directed the sound remake of “Secrets” with Mary Pickford (in her last leading role).
The festival program includes the restored, most complete version of the film. As Mariann Lewinsky explained in the notes to the 2017 catalog of the Il Cinema Ritrovato festival: “The project of restoring “Secrets” was launched by Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna and the Cohen Film Collection in 2015, and, after analysis of the existing elements [(from the Gosfilmofond of Russia, a black and white triacetate intermediate negative of 7 reels was provided for comparison)], three were used for the restoration: the very incomplete negative A from the Mary Pickford Collection in the Library of Congress (reels 1-2-7), the almost complete negative B (decomposed in some parts and with reel 5 in bits and pieces) from the Cohen Film Collection, and a complete, tinted first-generation nitrate print with Czech intertitles (struck from negative B, used for export prints) from MoMA, where it had arrived in the late 1970s from Národní Filmový Archiv in Prague. Comparison revealed that the editing and the shots are the same in both negatives, the difference lies in the quality of the acting. Negative A contains invariably the better take”. (Il Cinema Ritrovato XXXI edizione, 2017. P. 213–214.)
Based on the eponymous play by Rudolph Besier and May Edginton.
Mary Carlton, in her declining years at the bedside of her sick husband, reminisces about her life. Mary married John Carlton against the wishes of her parents. The young couple fled from New England to California, had children, and made a small fortune. More than once they fell into various troubles, became victims of intrigues, but managed to keep their marriage, even despite the secrets that, in reality, almost every family has.