Karl Dane - "The Red Mill"
Home Bio Research Films Photos Links Timeline
The Red Mill (1927)

Thanks to Phil Yermack for providing a VHS copy of this film.

Shot in 1927, The Red Mill was a film version of the Victor Herbert operetta of the same name, directed by former comic Roscoe Arbuckle (as William Goodrich), and starred Marion Davies, Owen Moore (Mary Pickford's first husband), Karl, and comic actress Louise Fazenda. It is ironic that Arbuckle was involved in this film, since Davies was the longtime mistress of William Randolph Hearst, whose newspapers had played such an ugly role in crucifying his reputation in the Virginia Rappe scandal several years prior. Arbuckle, of course, was completely exonerated in this case, although his career was finished as a comedian. The Red Mill was a fun, lighthearted romp about the comic misadventures of two couples, involving plenty of mistaken identity, a mouse named Ignatz, a haunted mill, a terrific ice skating scene, and gorgeous sets by Cedric Gibbons. Davies is terrific in her comic role, as Tina, the high-spirited waif, who helps her friend Gretchen, the Burgomaster's daughter, escape an arranged marriage, as she finds true love for herself.

Davies as Tina, and Karl as Captain Jacob Van Goop. Jacob gives a letter to Tina to deliver to Gretchen, who is being forced to marry the wealthy and elderly Governor against her will. The Governor was played by William Orlamond, who enjoyed a long career at MGM, and who was also born in Copenhagen.
Gretchen (played by Louise Fazenda) and Jacob (Karl) meet in the garden to plan their elopement, after Gretchen changes clothes with her friend Tina, resulting in a lot of comic misunderstanding as Dennis (played by Moore) falls for Tina, thinking she is in fact Gretchen. Louise Fazenda was a wonderfully talented comedienne who started with Mack Sennett. In this film, her character is quirky and inferred to be homely, as is Karl's, but the good looks of both of these actors make this a bit unbelievable.
A lovesick Jacob climbs a ladder to woo Gretchen at her window.
With the help of Tina and her stouthearted mouse friend Ignatz, Gretchen is able to escape her marriage to the hated Governor, and here is in a clinch with her beloved Jacob. Dennis, however, thinks that Tina is in this clinch, and overreacts accordingly.
All works out in the end, though, with the misunderstandings worked out, and each couple paired off appropriately. Here Jacob takes the hand of Gretchen as they finally prepare to elope.
Web design by Dan Balogh
Content copyright © 2007 Laura Balogh
Last modified: April 22, 2007