McCormick and Adapting Musicals

Irene made its premiere at the Million Dollar Theater with Colleen present. “It was her first big premier,” the Los Angeles Times reported, as if she had not been mobbed in Ireland at the opening of So Big. “…the feature is booked for a run, and she (Colleen) enjoyed the tribute that is certain to be paid to the player who has arrived at this milestone in his or her career.” “Premiere of ‘Irene’ Festive,” March 8th, 1926 Los Angeles Times, page A9.

In Moving Picture World, July 10th, a First National ad for Ella Cinders claims Colleen: “Breaks Her Own Record at Warfled, S.F. Ella Cinders ran away from the field at San Francisco, reported Variety! $24,000 for the week. That’s real money, and that’s the kind of money Ella Cinders has been drawing everywhere! Read this from Variety, June 30:--‘The smash of the Street. Even matinees capacity. Colleen Moore has beaten her own record at the Warfield.’” A story in the August 1st Washington Post credited John McCormick with the idea of adapting comics and musicals to motion picture vehicles. “McCormick, it is recalled, also pioneered the matter of utilizing the framework of musical comedies as plot outlines for movie interpretations. The flimsy stories and the skimpy dramatic foundations on which the average musical comedy is based has, in the past, made that sort of material despised and caused it generally to be spurned by motion picture producers—until McCormick showed the way. He made Sally with Colleen Moore—and an avalanche of musical comedy picturizations followed. “His own success with his daring innovation was so great that he later followed it with a filming of Irene, another hot of the light musical stage, again with Miss Moore, more than duplicating the financial returns of the footlights’ production, it is asserted.”

In July the newspapers reported that Colleen’s next film would be a “Limehouse” story, based on Thomas Burke’s Twinkletoes. D.W. Griffith based his 1919 film Broken Blossoms or The Yellow Man and the Girl, with Lilian Gish on Burke’s short story "The Chink and the Child," from his collection Limehouse NightsColleen's productions came one after another, with Delicatessen—renamed It Must Be Love—produced between May7th and June 22nd; Twinkletoes between July 26th and September 15th, and; Orchids and Ermine between September 18th and December 4th. The break between Twinkletoes and Orchids and Ermine lasted days