Roy Calnek • United States • 1926
A masterful vision of alcohol addition.
Based on the hugely popular 1854 temperance novel by Timothy Shay Arthur (and William W. Pratt’s 1858 stage adaptation), Roy Calnek’s TEN NIGHTS IN A BAR ROOM boasts a masterful performance by Charles Sidney Gilpin as a father whose life and family are devastated by his alcoholism. A renowned stage actor, Gilpin was famous for having initiated the role of Brutus Jones (of Eugene O’Neill’s The Emperor Jones) on Broadway in 1920. When the actor insisted that the playwright remove the word “nigger” from the script, he was replaced in the London production by Paul Robeson, which allegedly contributed to Gilpin’s own struggles with alcohol. In 1926, the same year in which TEN NIGHTS was released, Gilpin reclaimed the role of Jones, and also directed the play at New York's Mayfair Theatre.