Forbidden Hours

Forbidden Hours is a 1928 American silent romantic drama film directed by Harry Beaumont as a vehicle for Mexican-born star Ramon Novarro. It was the second of four films to pair Novarro with leading lady Renée Adorée.

Forbidden Hours
Forbidden Hours lobby card.jpg
Lobby card
Directed byHarry Beaumont
Written byAndrew Percival Younger
Story byAndrew Percival Younger
John Colton (titles)
StarringRamon Novarro
Renée Adorée
Dorothy Cumming
Roy D'Arcy
CinematographyMerritt B. Gerstad
Distributed byMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Release date
  • June 15, 1928 (1928-06-15)
Running time
6 reels / 4987 or 5011 ft.[1]
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)
Budget$293,000

PlotEdit

Set in the fictitious European kingdom of Balanca, Prince Michael IV is being coerced, by his advisers, to marry a young woman of royal blood. However, he has fallen for a peasant.

CastEdit

ProductionEdit

The film was shot in Los Angeles with a budget of $293,000. Working titles included The Sun King, His Night and The Loves of Louis.[2] The script originally contained reworked plot elements from Man in the Iron Mask but these elements were eventually discarded and the film took on a more Prussian design scheme reminiscent of the earlier Novarro success, The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg. Plot elements were allegedly adapted from the reign of Louis XIV of France.[3][4] The Palm Beach Post suggested that Marie of Romania had inspired the character of the Queen Mother, played by Dorothy Cumming.[5]

News sources reported that Jacqueline Gadsden, Marcelle Corday and a Shirley O'Hara were also in the cast.[6][7][8] Sven Hugo Borg may have also appeared in the film.[9]

As originally scripted, Prince Michael eventually marries his betrothed in order to keep peace between his nation and hers. The concluding scene showed him passing a convent where Marie now resides as a nun. This ending, which deliberately recalled Student Prince, was changed to a happier one, but press materials were still issued by the studio detailing the original ending, causing some confusion in the press.[10]

ReceptionEdit

Forbidden Hours premiered at the Capitol Theater in New York on July 22, 1928.[11] The film was greeted with mixed critical responses. The Film Daily described it as a "rehash of Student Prince and Merry Widow themes."[12] The Palm Beach Post, however, was one source who praised the film's scenario, design and performances.[13] Reviewer Anne Austin suggested in her report on the film's altered ending that Renée Adorée seemed too old for the role of Marie.[14]

As a prestige picture, Forbidden Hours was widely distributed and advertised. At the California Theatre in San Jose, California, it was accompanied by Hi-Yeller Idea, a live prologue staged by Fanchon and Marco.[15]

Forbidden Hours eventually made a profit of $109,000.[16] It was considered a commercial disappointment by the studio, however. Long thought to be lost, Forbidden Hours was discovered to have survived in 2000,[17] and had its first theatrical screening in seventy-three years at the Bijou Theater in Lincoln City, Oregon in 2002.[18]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Progressive Silent Film List: Forbidden Hours at silentera.com
  2. ^ Soares, André. Beyond Paradise: The Life of Ramón Novarro (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2002) p. 372 ISBN 0-312-28231-1
  3. ^ Novarro Stars in Play. Sarasota Herald-Tribune August 5. 1928 p 7. Web. April 13. 2014
  4. ^ Hagerstown Morning Herald. July 12. 1928 p 5. Web. May 30. 2014
  5. ^ "Forbidden Hours," Starring Ramon Novarro, at the Stanley Next Saturday, Sunday, Monday. Palm Beach Post July 15. 1928 p 4. Web. November 3. 2015
  6. ^ Forbidden Hours Is Florida Feature. St. Petersburg Times August 5. 1928 p 12. Web. April 2. 2014
  7. ^ Montreal Gazette July 28. 1928 p 10. Web. April 13. 2014
  8. ^ Hagerstown Morning Herald. July 12. 1928 p 5. Web. May 30. 2014 O'Hara is listed in this sources as playing a key role.
  9. ^ Baltimore African American September 8. 1928. p 8. Web. October 18. 2014
  10. ^ Austin, Anne. Change Ending For New Film. St. Petersburg Evening Independent August 6. 1928 p 6. Web. April 2. 2014
  11. ^ Soares, André. Beyond Paradise: The Life of Ramón Novarro (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2002) p. 372 ISBN 0-312-28231-1
  12. ^ Soares, André. Beyond Paradise: The Life of Ramón Novarro (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2002) p. 133 ISBN 0-312-28231-1
  13. ^ "Forbidden Hours," Starring Ramon Novarro, at the Stanley Next Saturday, Sunday, Monday. Palm Beach Post July 15. 1928 p 4. Web. April 2. 2014
  14. ^ St. Petersburg Evening Independent. August 4. 1928 p 6. Web. October 18. 2014
  15. ^ "Hi Yeller Idea" Is Stage Act. San Jose Evening News. July 31. 1928 p. 9. Web. November 3. 2015
  16. ^ Soares, André. Beyond Paradise: The Life of Ramón Novarro (New York: St. Martin's Press, 2002) p. 372 ISBN 0-312-28231-1
  17. ^ Forbidden Hours at SilentEra
  18. ^ Enders, John. Silent Films Drawing New Audiences. Bangor Daily News. January 21. 2002 p. C8. Web. April 2. 2014

External linksEdit