Kinematograph Weekly (18/Nov/1915) - "Gee-Gees": New Racing Melodrama by Bamforth

The following is a transcription of a historic journal article and may contain occasional errors.



"WHITE STAR," a four-reel melodrama which the Yorkshire Cine Co. are handling, is the first of a new series of Bamforth feature subjects. It deals chiefly with the shady side of horse racing, of which we read much in the storybooks and — fortunately for the continuance of the sport — very little in the newspapers. All the now familiar ingredients are there, including the race-horse owner, who is in financial difficulties, the well-dressed "crook," who has got the stable boy in his power, and the sweet heroine who constitutes the stake in the game. They are ingredients of which the public never seem to tire, and if they are well-remixed and served up with a topical piece — as in the present case — they are always sure of a welcome.

An Up-to-Date Film.

Several novel and up-to-date touches are introduced into the film, the most effective being the use of an aeroplane from which bombs are dropped on to the horses when they are out for a trial gallop. The object of this is, of course, to get rid of the favourite for the race. But the owners have been cunning, and it is not White Star that is injured by the bursting bombs, but another horse which, by the aid of a whitewash brush, has been got up to look like the favourite. Incidentally, this part of the story paves the way for a wonderfully clever piece of animal acting, the horse supposed to have been injured limping back to the stables just as if it had, indeed, been struck by an exploding bomb.

In a Theatrical Dressing-Room.

The story is not entirely devoted to the turf. The race-horse owner is also proprietor of a theatre, and the heroine is his leading lady, a state of affairs which allows for the introduction of some scenes in a theatrical dressing room. Here the hero gives proof of his muscularity at the expense of the younger villain, who has been pestering the fair lady with his unwelcome attentions. The method of inflicting punishment is commendably thorough, and if there happened to be any dust on the floor we should say that it had probably disappeared after the tussle.

The Race.

Quite a small part of the film is given up to the race, which is, naturally, the crux of the plot. "White Star," the favourite, wins, as was to be expected; but we should have preferred to see him pass the post ahead of his competitors, rather than be told that he had done so. Indeed, the whole of the racing scenes might have been prolonged with advantage, for they are quite the best thing in the film. "White Star" is a subject which, as we indicated in our opening paragraph, will have many admirers. If the critic likes to cavil at some of the incidents, and to describe them as far-fetched — well, picture theatres are not supported by critics.