IF WOMEN ONLY KNEW
Cayuga Pictures 1921
Written and produced by GARDNER HUNTING
Directed by E. H. Griffith
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ROBERT GORDON as Maurice Travers
VIRGINIA LEE as Donna Wayne
MADELYN CLARE as Madeline Marshall
BLANCHE DAVENPORT as Mrs. Travers
If Women Only Knew tells the tale of Maurice Travers who chooses women and sport over his university studies. With both of the Wharton brothers and the Grossman Picture Company no longer producing films in Ithaca it looked like the end of moviemaking here. Then in June of 1920, Cayuga Pictures Inc. was capitalized at $525,000, a former Wharton writer, Gardner Hunting, wrote and co-produced this final Ithaca silent film.
The film is based on Balzac’s Meditations on marriage, the working title was “The Three Women Who Loved Him.” This film contains many easily recognizable Ithaca Scenes such as the Arts Quad and the Eddy Gate entrance to the Cornell campus, swimming in Fall Creek, Ithaca's gorges are pictured in a dream sequence. Filming began in the Whartons' old studio at Renwick Park in July.
The Cayuga Picture Company had planned to make three feature films here in Ithaca. They only filmed If Women Only Knew in Ithaca and then moved to NYC to film their final film Scrambled Wives. Both films failed at the box offices and Cayuga Pictures soon folded.
This film features many little known stars, with the lead role portrayed by Virginia Lee as the charming Donna Wayne and Robert Gordon as the downtroden Maurice Travers, Gordon was well known for portraying silent films first Huck Finn on the big screen along with Jack Pickford (brother of Mary) as Tom Sawyer.
This story tells of Maurice Travers, son of a widow and one of the most popular students in Colburn University. The widow has scraped and saved to send her boy to Colburn, but realizes he is fonder of athletics than study.
Madeline Marshall, an orphan, and the child of a friend, has been adopted by Mrs. Travers. She is secretly in love with Maurice and is eager for his success. Maurice fails in his final examinations and is not graduated. His embarrassment is deep and he fears to tell his mother because of the anguish he knows it will cause her.
Maurice has been carrying on a flirtation with Donna Wayne, daughter of a wealthy trustee of the university. Donna is of the frivolous type, but is infatuated with Maurice. They elope and are married. Donna's father follows them and finds them at a New York hotel. After demanding to see the marriage certificate he declares he will have nothing further to do with them.
Donna runs true to form and when Maurice cannot find work she begins finding fault. Her own money she spends on clothes. Maurice asks her to use discretion and there is an open breach. Maurice returns to see his mother, who has suffered an accident which has caused her to lose her sight.
He is touched by Madeline's devotion and realizes the selfishness of his own wife. He returns to New York to find that Donna is about to run away with Billy Thorne, a rich young man who while in college, had shared her favors with Maurice.
Mrs. Travers dies and Madeline is left alone. Maurice after going out and making good in the business world, returns to his home town to find that his wife has divorced him. He hears a rumor that Madeline is engaged to marry. He is about to leave town when he encounters, Madeline.
"No matter how much a woman may mar a man there is another woman who really cares," is the final thought in the film.
The last scene filmed in Ithaca was at 1 pm on August 13th 1920, when The Cayuga Picture Company burned a fake fraternity house for part of the film. Many Ithacans appeared in this final scene that lit up the night skies along Cayuga Lake's shores for one last time!
Walter Stainton of Ithaca obtained this film and deposited in the Library of Congress archives in the early 1960’s. The film was recovered in 1988 during the Ithaca Centennial celebration, by Ithaca-Made Movies.
IF WOMEN ONLY KNEW was filmed by Ithaca cameraman Ray June. Ithacan Arch Chadwick, William McCoy, David Flynn designed the sets.