THE CAPTIVE. Lasky-Paramount, 1915. Blanche Sweet, House Peters, Page Peters, Jeanie Macpherson, Theodore Roberts, Billy Elmer, Marjorie Daw. Original story by Cecil B. DeMille and Jeanie Macpherson; director: Cecil B. DeMille. Shown at Cinecon 40, Hollywood CA, September 2004.

THE CAPTIVE DeMille 1915

   A Balkan drama about a Montenegrin/Turkish conflict and its unforeseen (well, meant to be unforeseen) consequences when the captured Turkish bey played by House Peters is given to Blanche Sweet to help her work her farm after the death of her older brother in the war.

   The writer of the program notes (Bob Birchard, one of the organizers of the convention and author of a recent book on DeMille) states that the film seems to have been “designed to take advantage of the costumes already used for The Unafraid,” another Balkan drama filmed in the same year.

   An irreverent (if somewhat amusing) comment that doesn’t really prepare the viewer for a nicely developed romantic drama that brings together an unlikely couple and makes their eventual reconciliation believable.

   Peters plays the role with a light touch that makes his character appealing and contrasts with the more intense performance of the attractive Sweet. Not major DeMille, perhaps, but an intelligent, hopeful handling of cross-cultural antagonisms that demonstrates that ancient enmities need not endure.