February 12, 1920: Olive Thomas in «Footlights and Shadows»

Lobby card for the movie Footlights and Shados, with Olive Thomas.

«Footlights and Shadows», starring Olive Thomas, was released on February 12, 1920. At that time, Mrs. Thomas was one of the most prominent star in the Selznick Studios.



Gloria Dawn (Olive Thomas) is the latest Broadway favorite and star of «The Midnight Revue.» Peter Shaw (Ivo Dawson), a wealthy man-about-town, who, having exhausted all other tactics, proposes marriage. Dazzled by the prospects of wealth and luxury, she accepts, though she does not love him. The same night a range man enters her apartment with his own key. She discovers he is irrational and is horrified when he falls unconscious. He passes through a long period of delirium, remaining in Gloria’s apartment by order of the doctor. During his convalescence he is still dazed, being unable to remember his own name, later she learns he is Jerry O’Farrell, millionaire sportsman, who contracted fever while tiger hunting in Africa and she goes to inform him of his identity, but during an unguarded moment he had slipped away. He left Gloria’s apartment so hurriedly that he neither remembers her address nor her name, later he attends the revue, and during the performance fire breaks out in the rings. O’Farrell, dazed, is trampled under foot. Gloria forces her way trough the mob and drags him to safety, Shaw, who has learned of the man who stayed at Gloria’s apartment for two weeks, no longer wants her for his wife, and makes an insulting proposal. O’Farrell enters, and a fierce struggle ensues, Shaw, outclassed, beats an inglorious retreat, and O’Farrell takes Gloria in his arms.


This move is believed to be lost.

Film reviews:

The comments from the critics of the time were mostly positive for the film.

Wid’s Daily:


It’s merely a case of how much you care to promote just a satisfactory production along exploitation lines that confronts you in «Footlights and Shadows.» The picture is worth advertising, for it’s worth showing, and as a consequence the only problem is how far you want to go and along what lines. The picture offers good advertising possibilities. Mention of the star and the fact that she appears in «the role of a dancer on Broadway» are advertising assets, particularly the latter, inasmuch as your people will realize that Miss Thomas is appearing in her element. Catch lines and readers written around the trick by which heroine and hero becomes acquainted will prove attractive. Something on this order is suggested: «How had he come into possession of a key to her apartment? Why had he come tumbling in while all the city slept? Was this the beginning of the romance that her old Mammy had predicted? See «Footlight and Shadows.»

Exhibitors Herald:


Here we have Olive Thomas in a role more or less familiar to the former «Follies» queen. It was adapted by R. Cecil Smith from the story by Bradley King and tells briefly the adventures of a chorus girl whose apartment is entered by a mysterious stranger; of a broken engagement with a wealthy suitor and the coming of an honest love. Always appealing, Miss Thomas plays the role of the beautiful, perplexed little actress, with fine understanding. Alex Onslow, who has the role of Jerry O’Farrell, appears opposite the winsome little star and gives her excellent support. If given the opportunity we predict big things for Mr. Onslow. Ivo Dawson, as the man-about-town, was also well cast; as were the balance of the players. The «Midnight Revue» was well staged and the interior sets and lighting effects were splendidly arranged. Excellent direction by John W. Noble helped the story over the rough places and the suspense was well sustained.



If you want to see Olive Thomas in a marvelous gown of lace patterned after the famous one worn by Bessie McCoy Davis in «The Greenwich Village Follies,» see this picture. That’s about all there is to it. The impression gained after its conclusion is that the company presenting Olive to anxious audiences thought to itself, «Let’s see: she was a Follies queen before she went into films. Say — why wouldn’t it be a good stunt to let her play a chorus-girl?» So Olive does, and she is beautiful and good, as are all show girls on the screen; and she goes through an awful lot till the final fadeout. Her support is only fair; her story is fairly good; her direction — by John Noble — satisfactory.