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Volume 0765a
The Oakdale Affair (1919)
Alternate USA Title: Bringing Up Baby
Release Date:  6 October 1919 (USA)
(No known print of  this film exists)
Based on ERB's "The Oakdale Affair."
See the ERBzine ERB Bibliography for the book:
In August 1918, the filming rights to "The Oakdale Affair" were assigned by Burroughs to Red Book Corporation (Story-Book Press) for $1,000, how turned the rights over to the World Film Corporation. ~ Porges
Based on the novel The Oakdale Affair by Edgar Rice Burroughs
The story originally appeared in the Blue Book Magazine (Mar 1918) as a novelette. It was published with another story, "H. R. H., the Rider" in 1937 at Tarzana, CA in the book The Oakdale Affair and the Rider. Charles J. Duprez was the publicity photographer on this film.
Refusing to marry her stepmother's choice, Gail Prim leaves her life of luxury, after cutting her hair, dressing in her butler's clothes and stealing money and jewels from her father's safe. Spending the night in a barn, she introduces herself to the thieves already there as the Oskaloosa Kid, a wanted criminal, and barely escapes their struggle to get her loot. Meanwhile, the real Oskaloosa Kid kills Reginald Paynter and throws Nettie Penning, whom Reginald was trying to seduce, onto the highway. Gail and Arthur Stockbridge, a friendly tramp who helped her, find Nettie and take her to a deserted house, where they meet Gioja, a gypsy, and her performing bear. After Nettie is seized by crooks and returned to her father for a reward, Gail and Arthur are arrested, as suspected killers of the missing Gail. Gail's father stops a mob about to lynch them by confirming her identity, after which Arthur, really an author looking for atmosphere, wins Gail's affection.
Director and Producer: Oscar Apfel
Writing Credits: Edgar Rice Burroughs (novel) ~ Wallace C. Clifton (scenario)
Cinematography: Alfred Gandolfi
Production Company: World Film
Film Editing: Lee Dougherty

Cast (in credits order)
Evelyn Greeley: Gail Prim
Eric Mayne: John Prim
Maude Turner Gordon: Mrs. Prim
Charles Mackay: Reginald Paynter
Eric Dalton: Prim's Chauffeur
Mona Kingsley: Nettie Penning
Reginald Denny: Arthur Stockbridge
Frank Joyner: The Oskaloosa Kid
Al Hart: The Sky Pilot (as Albert Hart)
Eddie Sturgis: Dopey Charlie
Geo. E. Murphy: The General (as George E. Murphy)
Frank Nelson: Soup Face
Edward Elkas: Dirty Eddie
Nick Long Jr.: Willie Case
Jules Cowles: Jeb Case
Ben Johnson: Clem Burton
Corene Uzzell: Gioja
Charles Dewey: Deputy Sheriff
Richard Collins: Chief of Police (as Dick Collins)
Filming Location: Fort Lee, New Jersey, USA

Filming from end of July to end of August
Sound Mix:  Silent
Black and White ~ (5 reels) (USA) ~ 25 minutes
Aspect Ratio:   1.33 : 1
Negative and Printed Film Format: 35 mm
Cinematographic Process:  Spherical

"The Oakdale Affair" is a mystery play made for the average theatre patron.  It affords real entertainment.  There is not a heavy or dull moment in the picture.  The action is rapid and filled with that fast-moving punch that gets an audience right at the start and holds them tense all the time the picture is being screened!

The mystery is deep and would puzzle even Sherlock Holmes.  But isn't the kind that tires your audience.  Director Apfel took care that only an element of that tantalizing uncertainty that holds the audience, was introduced.

Gail Prim runs away from home, taking with her her jewels and some money. She joins a band of tramps and poses as a noted criminal.  Her father believes that she has been kidnapped by the thieves who robbed her jewel case.  The story ends with Gail in jail after many thrilling adventures.  Her father comes and easily proves her innocence of any crime, and she returns home.

With an excellent cast, headed by Evelyn Greeley, this is one of the best pictures yet! 

~Playbill from the Mercury Film Service, Leeds, England ~ 1917
Disguised in male clothing Gail Prim runs away form home because her stepmother wishes to force her into an unwelcome marriage. She takes money and jewelry with her. Stopping for the night in a barn where several hobo crooks are sleeping, she informs them she is the "Oskaloosa Kid" and exhibits money and jewels as trophies of her plunder. They plan to rob the supposed youth, but she es apes and finds refuge with a tramp named Stockbridge who defends her. With the latter she goes to a haunted house where they are disturbed by a ghost which turns out to be a pet bear owned by a gypsy girl. They join forces with the gypsy  and proceed to give open air dancing entertainments. Meanwhile, the genuine Oskaloosa Kid has murdered Reginald Paynter, ,having been employed as the latter's chauffeur. The Kid throws Nettie Penning, the other passenger in the auto, out on the road, where she is found by Stockkbridge and Gail. A reward is offered for the missing girls. Nettie is seized by crooks and deliv ered to her father. Gail an Stockbridge are arrested.

They are suspected of having murdered the missing Gail. A mob storms the jail with the intention of lynching them. Gail's father and a detective arrive. Gail proclaims her identify and they are rescued. Stockbridge turns out to be an author in hobo disguise and wins Gail's affections. 

~ Exhibitor's Trade Review, October 11, 1919.

Exhibitor's Trade Review, October 11, 1919

Evelyn Greeley
From the Brian Bohnett Collection

A performing bear, name unknown, registers remarkably well in this production. Bruin's stunts, whether engaged in treeing a crook or innocently enacting the role of ghost, are amusing and provide the only bright spots in a picture which offers a wearisome number of melodramatic absurdities. 

To state that the story isn't convincing puts the case altogether too mildly. We are asked to believe that a supposedly refined girl, reared in luxury, would leave her home in a temper, disguised as a boy, mix fearlessly with tramps, spend the night in their company without a qualm of fear, and later enjoy the company of another of the hobo genus without the latter ever suspecting her real sex, until he sees a picture of her posted in the police station.

All of which is sufficiently ridiculous but quite in keeping with the maniacal foolishness of the remainder of the plot. There is the murder of Reginald Paynter, for instance, who vanishes immediately after being perforated with a bullet and is seen no more. This gent starts out apparently with the object of seducing his girl companion. 

Nobody knows whether he accomplishes his purpose, and nobody is likely to care much, nor is anybody brought to book for his assassination , as the genuine Oskaloosa Kid also performs a vanishing stunt. True, a subtitle conveys the information that Reggie's body has been found, and the case seemingly drops there. But after all, what's a murder or so between film accomplices?

The hero tramp finally appears in his true colours as an author, possibly a purveyor of wild-cat scenarios, although no information is vouchsafed on this point. The abducted female is restored to her father, the latter apparently satisfied with his daughter's return, regardless of whether her reputation may have suffered during her wanderings from the domestic rood and that ends her connection with the march of events.

Melodramatic license can be stretched to a pretty raw limit in film land, but it isn't elastic enough to cover up the glaring errors of this picture, which exceeds all reasonable limits in it s excursions into the wildly improbable. Director Oscar Apfel probably did the best he could to bring order out of chaos, but found the task a hopeless one. The photography is of excellent quality, offering a number of beautiful woodland views and neatly executed close-ups. 

~ Exhibitor's Trade Review, October 11, 1919

ERBzine Refs
ERB: Film Producer
ERBzine Silver Screen Series

External Refs:
ERB: The Man Who Created Tarzan by Irwin Porges
Google Books
ERB and the Silver Screen: Vol. by Jerry L. Schneider
The Brian Bohnett Collection

The Fantastic Worlds of Edgar Rice Burroughs

ERBzine Weekly Webzine
Danton Burroughs Website: Tarzana Treasure Vaults
Burroughs Bibliophiles
John Coleman Burroughs Tribute Site
Tarzine: Official Monthly Webzine of ERB, Inc.
John Carter of Mars
Edgar Rice Burroughs
ERBzine Weekly Webzine
Weekly Webzine
Danton Burroughs Weekly Webzine
Weekly Webzine

John Carter Film

ERB, Inc. Corporate Site

ERB Centennial


Volume 0765a

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