The Mad Whirl (March 1, 1925)
Released on March 1, 1925: A wealthy playboy and a working-poor girl fall in love despite each of their parents' warnings.
Directed by William A. Seiter
Written by Richard Washburn Child with screenplay by Fanny Hatton, Frederick Hatton, Edward T. Lowe Jr., Lewis Milestone and Harvey F. Thew
The Actors: May McAvoy (Cathleen Gillis), Jack Mulhall (Jack Herrington), Myrtle Stedman (Gladys Herrington), Barbara Bedford (Margie Taylor), Alec B. Francis (John Herrington), Ward Crane (Benny Kingsley), George Fawcett (Martin Gillis), Marie Astaire (Julia Carling), Joseph Singleton (Spivens), Charles King (unknown), Rolfe Sedan (unknown), Grady Sutton (unknown)
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A New Form of Measles
Papa was a preacher . . . his great-grandfather Jacob Bergi came to America from Switzerland and settled near Philadelphia among what has become known as the 'Pennsylvania Dutch' folk, who led simple farm lives and had much disdain for all modern city tom-foolery.
The family always stayed among the Amish and Mennonite communities, but somehow dad and the gal he would marry became familiar with the Pentecostal movement that started in Los Angeles just before the great earthquake, and his passion became living and preaching a Pentecostal, speaking-in-tongues, 'holy-roller' message. With his limited understanding of the universe of man he believed that most poor people were good people and most rich people were bad people merely because of the amount of money in their pocket . . . and music . . . let me tell you about music.
As a kid growing up during the birth of rock and roll, I was taught from an early age that rock and roll was devil music, with origins in the deepest parts of heathen and Godless Africa. All of those thoughts came rushing in when I saw the first text screen which reads: "Jazz - A new form of measles, which makes children middle-aged at twenty - and parents childish at fifty." - Webster's Abridged Dictionary.
In this pre-code story about the idle rich and the working poor I see the same thoughts that I was brought up with . . . The hard working drug store owner has a young and beautiful daughter who meets the wealthy playboy and falls in love . . . . Daddy forbids her to see him because he is wealthy and certainly must be an awful person . . . All wealthy people are Godless party people who drink, dance, carouse and make merry while the hard working 'honest' people struggle to exist . . . Indeed wealthy Jack's parents are each having an affair with other people and Jack's life is filled with parties and frivolity with the other idle rich kids in the town.
But sometimes . . . nay . . . many times . . . the children are able to separate the person from the perception and find love on the other side of the tracks. In this story of the idle rich and working poor, wealthy Jack and poor Cathleen indeed fall in love . . . The question in this story will be whether wealthy Jack becomes more like poor Cathleen and her church-going friends, or whether Cathleen will become more like Jack and join his party-every-day lifestyle . . .
How did I turn out? . . . Well, I am the 'black sheep' of my family . . . with five sisters and a multitude of nieces and nephews I am the only one who will taste alcohol and enjoy it, listen to non-religious music and enjoy motion pictures made in 'wicked Hollywood' Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter on it and enjoy the mad whirl of 1925 love and life.
Alec B. Francis
George Fawcett in The Mad Whirl
Jack Mulhall and May McAvoy
Jack Mulhall proposes to May McAvoy
May McAvoy and George Fawcett
May McAvoy and Jack Mulhall
Myrtle Stedman and Alec B. Francis
Willliam Fawcett and Jack Mulhall