The Game of Hearts/Battle of Hearts 1916

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Motion Picture News, June 17, 1916

THE GAME OF HEARTS, also called BATTLE OF HEARTS, black and white silent film made, in part, on Santa Cruz Island in 1916. The film was directed by Oscar Apfel (1878-1938) and produced by the Fox Film Corporation. It starred Hedda Hopper (1890-1966) and William Farnum (1876-1953). Margaret Eaton recalled how the 35 film crew for Battle of Hearts arrived at Pelican Bay on top of the 100-member crew of Pearl of Paradise already at camp:

“My mind was racing, and I kept thinking, My God! Where will I put all these people? William Farnum was one of the leading actors of the day, and all the people would be soaked and freezing [from the channel crossing]. They must be taken care of. There was not a dry stitch on them; the water oozed out of their clothes and made pools on the floor. They were not in the best of humor, and you couldn't blame them. Then the ladies came ashore [Hedda Hopper and the director's wife], as wet as the men but much more cheerful.” [1980: 210]. In the end, Eaton recalled the Fox Film people “were as fine a bunch of troupers as I ever had the pleasure of catering to.”



In the News~

April 13, 1916 [SBMP]: “Pelican Bay, Captain Ira K. Eaton's Santa Cruz Island camp, is just now the center of great activity in the moving pictures business. Harry Pollard's company of 32 people is in the rush stage in the working-up of The Pearl of Paradise, and the Fox Company of Los Angeles, under direction of Oscar C. Apfel, with 35 members, is engaged on a play to be called The Battle of Hearts. The star of the latter company includes William Farnum, one of the most famous screen actors in the profession, and Miss Elda Furry is the leading lady. The Fox people have just recently commenced operations, but the Pollard company's work on the island is nearly done. Mr. Pollard has succeeded in getting some of the most beautiful bits of the island scenery, including what is declared to be a wonderful view of the interior of the Painted Cave, the first ever taken of this scenic marvel for a moving picture.”


April 16, 1916 [SBMP]: “Captain Eaton came from Pelican Bay in the Sea Wolf yesterday to bring over seven members of the Fox Company of moving picture actors now on the island working on the photoplay, The Game of Hearts. These are actors who have finished their part in the play and they have left for their homes in Los Angeles. The others of the company will remain on the island for another week or more.”


April 16, 1916 [SBMP]: “Captain Eaton came from Pelican Bay in the Sea Wolf yesterday to bring over seven members of the Fox Company of moving picture actors now on the island working on the photo play, The Game of Hearts. These are actors who have finished their part in the play and they have left for their homes in Los Angeles. The others of the company will remain on the island for another week or more.”


May 21, 1916 [LAT]: “Elda Furry, the new leading woman of William Farnum, appearing in A Battle of Hearts, at Miller’s, has learned to swim since she joined the Fox forces. When the photoplay was being made on Santa Cruz Island, Miss Furry decided to learn. There were no ‘water-wings’ to be had, but the property man rigged up two oil cans and connected them with a bit of canvas. The cans worked beautifully, and gaining confidence from admiring shouts of other members of the company, she struck out for deep water. ‘Props’ had failed to stuff a hole in one of the cans, and it soon began to fill and sink. Miss Furry soon realized this and becoming frightened called for help. Before anybody could reach her, however, she abandoned the makeshift water wings and was swimming as well as anybody. The strangest feature of the lesson is that she did not realize that she was swimming until after she had been dragged into a boat. Now she can swim as well as anyone.”