The Tree of Knowledge (1920 film)

The Tree of Knowledge is a lost[1] 1920 American silent drama film produced by Famous Players-Lasky and distributed by Paramount Pictures. It was directed by William C. deMille and starred Robert Warwick. It is based on an 1897 play, The Tree of Knowledge, by R. C. Carton.[2][3]

The Tree of Knowledge
The Tree of Knowledge (1920) - 1.jpg
Newspaper advertisement
Directed byWilliam C. deMille
Produced byAdolph Zukor
Jesse Lasky
Written byMargaret Turnbull (scenario)
Based onThe Tree of Knowledge
by R. C. Carton
StarringRobert Warwick
Kathlyn Williams
Wanda Hawley
CinematographyL. Guy Wilky
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
January 18, 1920
Running time
5 reels
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)

In a prologue to the film involving a Garden of Eden scene, Yvonne Gardelle appears nude as Lilith to tempt Adam, who was played by dancer Theodore Kosloff.[4] The two actors of the prologue were promoted in print advertisements for the film.[5]


After living with adventuress Belle (Williams) in Paris, Nigel (Warwick) proposes, but she rejects him for a wealthier suitor. Nigel returns to England, where his friend Brian (Forman) hires him to manage his estate. Nigel falls in love with Brian's ward Monica (Hawley). Brian travels to Paris and meets Belle. Unaware of her past, Brian marries her, and, when they return to England, Belle says nothing when they meet her ex-lover Nigel. Belle, who had only married for money, then discovers that Brian's family is bankrupt, and begins an affair with Roupelle (Cummings). After Nigel discovers that she is planning to elope, he prevents the betrayal, but their prior affair is revealed to Brian. However, Monica forgives him for his transgressions.[6][7]



  1. ^ The Library of Congress American Silent Feature Film Survival Catalog: The Tree of Knowledge
  2. ^ The American Film Institute Catalog Feature Films: 1911-20 by The American Film Institute, c.1988
  3. ^ The Tree of Knowledge as produced on Broadway at the Lyceum Theatre, January 24, 1898;
  4. ^ Robertson, Patrick (2004). Guinness Book of Movie Facts and Feats. Abbeville Press. p. 60. ISBN 978-1-558592360.
  5. ^ Mantle, Burns (April 1920). "The Shadow Stage: The Tree of Knowledge". Photoplay. Chicago: Photoplay Publishing Company. 17 (5): 106. Retrieved June 17, 2015.
  6. ^ Langman, Larry (1998), American Film Cycles: The Silent Era, Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, p. 352, ISBN 0-313-30657-5
  7. ^ Exhibitor's Press Book

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