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The Only Thing
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MGM silent. 62 minutes.
US release: 11/22/25.
Not available on VHS or DVD.
Cast: Eleanor Boardman, Conrad Nagel, Edward Connelly, Arthur Edmund Carew, Louis Payne, Vera Lewis, Carrie Clarke Ward, Constance Wylie, Dale Fuller, Ned Sparks, David Mir, Mario Carillo, Michael Pleschkoff. (Joan uncredited in bit part.)
Credits: Based on the novel by Elinor Glyn. Story: Elinor Glyn (and the film "made under Miss Glyn's personal supervision"). Director: Jack Conway. Camera: Chester Lyons. Editor: Aubrey Scotto. Costumes: David Mir. Sets: Richard Day, Cedric Gibbon.
Mordaunt Hall in the New York Times
November 23, 1925
In an offering entitled "The Only Thing" Elinor Glyn once again dangles her familiar puppets on the screen. This time the authoress, who scorns anything but a queen for a heroine, romps into the imaginary kingdom of Chekia and unfurls the love story of a dazzling but temporarily unhappy Queen and a daring young English Duke. To elicit sympathy for the Princess Thyra Mrs. Glyn gives her a King whose appearance to say the least is a decided contrast to the Nordic beauty of his consort. He has protruding teeth and ears that are excellent miniatures of those of an African elephant. He had been married before, and his two girls, twins, have inherited his facial weaknesses. There is a subtle suggestion that he also is the father of an artist, whose ears and teeth resemble the monarch's.
To obtain a contrast between the handsome Duke of Chevinix and the King. Mrs. Glyn has seen to it that her hero's ears are perfect; in fact, this nobleman's auricular appendages look very much as if they had been glued to the side of his head. The Duke is impersonated by Conrad Nagel, and Eleanor Boardman, her head covered with long, blond hair, figures as the Queen.
Mrs. Glyn appears to have forsaken her tiger-skin insignia for the spots of the leopard, and one therefore beholds the Hussars of Chekia wearing headgear of leopard skins.
The Duke is artful, for when he realizes that the King is otherwise occupied he whispers to the Queen that he must see her. He is a swordsman of the d'Artagnan type, and his fighting energy is astounding. No such story would be complete without conspirators, and as the head of such a band Gigberto has a rather successful time. He also is infatuated with the Queen, and therefore has a miniature statue of her on his desk to serve as an inspiration in his throne-wrecking manoeuvres.
Love is a thing to be approached in a peculiar way, according to this story. In one episode the Queen falls on her knees before the Duke, who, after standing, listening, himself genuflects before the royal lady. No opportunity is lost by the Queen and the Duke to whisper consoling words to each other, and even at the "Stately Court Dance," while gliding over the floor, they do more talking than dancing.
Apparently Mrs. Glyn decided at the outset that this love affair was to be a lasting one, wherein the handsome Duke and the dazzling Queen lived happily ever after, which, considering the forbidding countenance of the King, was not a bad move. To make it eminently respectable the King bows his exit to life.
Miss Boardman is fair and graceful as the heroine, and Mr. Nagel is immaculate and prepossessing as the Duke. Arthur Edmund Carew has lost none of his talent in depicting villainy. Edward Connelly officiates as the King, and to make him ugly the make-up man has given him extra teeth and added to the size of his ears. Ned Sparks contributes an amusing performance in the rôle of the Duke's valet.
An Elinor Glyn Photoplay.
Regina Cannon in the New York Evening Graphic (1925):
Elinor Glyn's latest comic opera is a nightmare. It must have been inspired by a midnight reading of Dante's Inferno, Three Weeks, Graustark and Scaramouche. It was written, titled, supervised, and super-directed by the Madame herself. You know the answer. Of course it deals with kings, princesses, and dukes, yachts, palaces and revolutions--anything less than royalty Miss Glyn would consider a waste of time....We'd like to tell you what the story is all about, but we only saw the picture through once. We may know more later, because we're sending a complimentary ticket to a girl against whom we have a grudge.
Norbert Lusk in the New York Morning Telegraph (1925):
...Entertaining from start to finish. Its pomp and splendor will please those who are easily pleased; its deft touches of characterization, its cynical subtitles and excellent acting will challenge the more critical.
In directing, Conway did not particularly distinguish himself, but it is easy to assume that he may have been working under a handicap.
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