a comedy-drama in three acts by Cosmo Hamilton
produced by Carle Carlton
staged by H.B. Warner, Cosmo Hamilton and Carle Carlton
Thirty-ninth Street Theatre, New York, December 22, 1921
Cast of Characters
|Mrs. Sturgess||Gilda Leary|
|Percy Sturgess||Leslie Howard|
|Mrs. Scorrier||Marie Goff (Tallulah Bankhead took the role on January 23)|
|Mary Hubbard||Kathlene MacDonell|
|John Fitzroy Scorrier||H.B. Warner|
|The Hon. Algernon Meskin||Knox Orde|
|Colonel Kaw (a Theatrical Manager)||Mr. J.B. Johnson|
|Philippe (a Footman)||Mr. Harry Kittredge|
The newest sex play to come to town is Cosmos Hamilton’s “Danger,” which seems to lack some of the fine qualities that may be found in two other plays by him, “Scandals” and “The Silver Fox.” Something about the play reminds one of some rhetorical composition in which the author has paid more attention to his excellent style than he did to the story itself; so, the play is full of fine speeches and such. The formula of the piece is conventional enough, however, to some the angle may seem new .
John Fitzroy Scorrier is a young barrister who married a girl beneath his social circle in life. She is a horse trainer’s daughter or something like that. From that time on he ran in hard luck if ever a married man did. He envied his neighbors and their progeny and longed to have a room in the house full of them. But that was not to be for his wife told him right from the start that she married him for the express purpose of furthering her own particular social ambition, which she could best do by helping him climb the political ladder. She asked him what he proposed to do about it, but he apparently decided to do nothing, for the present at least. For a year the husband did nothing but work hard and dabble in politics, paying little or no attention to his sexless mate, who was steeped in politics up to her neck. Then, the young stenographer walked into a room during the second act, and did so just in time to prevent Mr. Scorrier from committing suicide. She caught his hand in the usual way, and the conversation that followed proved that they were in love. Therefore they went away together and, unfortunately for the wife, she wanted to change her attitude toward her husband and found that she was too late. The third act finds the young barrister and Mary, the stenographer, living happily in a cottage.
H . B . Warner played the part of the suffering husband of the frigid bride, and occasionally showed genuine sincere understanding of his role. Kathleen MacDonnell made a gentle and appealing stenographer, who quietly told the would-be suicide that she loved him. Miss Marie Goff, as Mrs. Scorrier, was cold and mechanical in delivering her speeches; though the part has more possibilities, it needed more than the loud talking unskillful method of Miss Goff. Gilda Leary and Leslie Howard did well as a breezy young couple who lived in the neighborhood of the Scorriers. The play was bright at times and again was exceedingly dull. To analyze the piece one would ask immediately, how did a clever young man like Scorrier fall in love with the soulless woman in the first place. It doesn’t seem likely .
(The New York Clipper, December 28, 1921)
The story isn’t at all new. Simply the ultra modern English woman who refuses to have children. Her husband finds his sympathy and understanding and love in his secretary.
Carle Carlton gave it a neat production. And H.B. Warner with little to do, too little, returned to the stage. He is an actor who should be in New York oftener. kathlene MacDonnell always magnificent was the secretary. Here’s another actress who has somehow never had the position she deserves. Gilda Leary was good and so were Stapleton Kent and Knox Orde.
(S. Jay Kaufman, New York Dramatic Mirror, December 31, 1921)
Carle Carlton is sponsoring “Danger,” with H.B. Warner starred. The author has offered the piece to a number of managers in New York for the past few years. […]
The straight story of the piece, in brief, is that an ambitious woman marries a brilliant barrister (locale is England) and when the play opens on their honeymoon night she tells him she has no time for sex indulgence but has brought along his secretary so he can work during the so-called honeymoon. She goes on prating on her “modernist” ideas, that she is his partner does not propose to sacrifice her youth to bearing him children, and kindred twaddle. The barrister knows he could have the marriage annulled because it was never consummated, but, being an English gentleman, he balks the the publicity of such a court proceeding, and we find him in the second act, a year later, living a life of celibacy under the same roof with the ambitious woman bearing his name.
At this juncture one cannot help remarking that an American gentleman would have walked out on her, possibly stopping on the way out to aim one full-strength wallop on the point of the jaw.
Just before the fall of the second act curtain he takes up a revolver to shoot himself, but it is snatched from his hand by his meek little secretary, who tells him she loves him, and as such offers herself as a substitute cutlet for his pent-up emotions.
That he accepts the offer is revealed in the third act when the barrister and secretary are found living together in the country four months later and she is already making baby clothes, and when the wife calls to break it up and offer herself as wife in fact he replies it is too late–that he loves said secretary and he proposes to go through with the annullment.
H.B. Warner sustained the difficult role of the husband with distinction; Marie Goff recited the bombastic lines of the wife; Kathlene MacDonnell is pleasing as the secretary, but is handicapped through the role being improperly drawn; Leslie Howard gives a delightful performance of a blissfully happy English husband; Ruth Hammond scored as a comedy housemaid and the others were quite competent.
“Danger” is not likely to succeed.
(Variety, January 6, 1921)
[…] H.B. Warner is excellent in a rotten role and so is Kathleen MacDonnell. Leslie Howard, who would be perfectly good humored were he playing Mefistofeles, was pleasantly and light-heartedly funny. Gilda Leary was natural and Marie Goff Just the opposite. The play is filled with wishy-washy sentiment, downright falsity, and viciously bad logic. it also stinks to high heaven. John Fitzroy Scorrier must have been a very bad lawyer if he didn’t know that refusal to consummate a marriage invalidates it, but if he had known that there would have been no play. And that would have been an historic catastrophe, especially for the children, who will love the story, and the baby, whose waving belly-band brings down the curtain.
(Patterson James, The Billboard, January 7, 1922)