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An "Old-Fashioned Young Man" and "Hands Up!"

In February The Moving Picture World (page 693) mentioned of Colleen in connection with her next film, this time directed by Lloyd Ingraham. She had a whole paragraph: “Mr. Griffith saw Miss Moore in Chicago during the production of Intolerance at the Colonial theater. The following day, accompanied by her mother, Miss Moore was en route for Los Angeles. The second day after arrival at the coast studios she was cast as one of the leading characters for a Fine Arts-Triangle play.”

The story said “Ingraham will take part of his company across the country for his production. Scenes will be taken at El Paso, Texas, New Orleans, Atlanta Ga., Washington, D.C., and make the finishing touches in New York City. He intends to start his trip via the Southern Pacific within the next two weeks.” The film’s working title was A Gentleman of the Old School. Colleen’s part, while featured, was a small one. She was only worked at the studio while the principals traveled. During this time Colleen joined Tod Browning for Hands Up!

The choice to take the cast out on location when, at that time, it was easy enough to manufacture the appropriate sets in-house was an artistic but expensive one. Outwardly, things at the studio seemed fine. The studio buildings had even been given a fresh coat of paint shortly after Colleen’s arrival, all the building painted dark green. There was a fresh infusion of cash and new talent on display. However Intolerance had turned out to be a spectacular failure. Though not released under Triangle’s auspices, the failure cast a shadow over Triangle. Unbeknownst to Colleen, while her career was just starting to take off, the studio was on a downward slump.

According to the Los Angeles City Directory of 1917 Colleen’s address was listed as 1326 N. Virgil Ave. While they stayed in a bungalow on Fountain Street, Colleen's mother was looking for new housing. She stayed in town for at least two months before returning to Tampa: According to the story “City Population Nears Six Hundred Thousand” in the June 27th Los Angeles Times, compilation of the 1917 directory began in January, and the directory was in the last stages of printing by mid-year. So even if Colleen’s household was enumerated in the first few weeks of the process, her mother was still in town, listed as a resident, as late as January.) 

Hands Up!
An Old Fashioned Young Man
was followed two weeks later by the release of Hands Up! with Monte Blue, an extra and stuntman in Intolerance whose star as a character actor had begun to rise. While her part in An Old Fashioned Young Man had been as another sophisticated city girl, Hands Up! was Colleen’s first real western, and one with a pedigree. It was based upon a story by Al Jennings, a desperado who “Jennings Gang” had robbed trains and general stores in the late 1890s until he was wounded and captured by authorities in 1897. He did a stretch in the clink, a life sentence, but got off on a technicality and later received a presidential pardon. 

To get her part, Colleen had told the director she could ride a horse... maybe thinking "how hard could it be?" It proved very difficult. Monte Blue noticed Colleen's troubles mounting her horse and knew in an instant she could not ride. He gave her a quick lesson and suggested she take real lessons as soon as possible. She did. The film had Colleen as the innocent daughter who takes a romantic interest in an outlaw, to realize the trouble she’s in. She got to scream her head off in the film. The May 3rd Chicago Daily Tribune’s review included a mention of her: “Colleen Moore contributes some remarkable bits of acting. She is very sweet as she goes trustingly to her bandit hero, and, O, so pitiful, when finally realizing the character of the man, she goes into an hysteria of terror, and, shrieking ‘Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!’ beats futilely on a bolted door, a panic stricken little human animal, who had not known before that there was aught but kindness in the world.”