South Coast Orchid Society

Orchids Today and Yesterday

November, 2018

More about Black Orchids (1917):

The poster design was published in Motion Picture News, December 30, 1916, p. 4233. The film (5 reels) was scheduled for release on January 1, 1917, A review by Edward Weitzel appeared in Moving Picture World, January 6, 1917, pp. 98-99. Another notice was published in Photoplay, March 1, 1917, p. 120: "Black Orchids has a needlessly dirty note in its plot, but if you wish a thrill of medieval horror to jar you out of placidity, have a look. No, we won't tell you what it is. Cleo Madison, who in months has perpetrated nothing but matrimony to keep her name in the papers, is the principal performess."

As far as is known, the film itself is completely lost, and the only surviving still or publicity photograph is the one published with the review in Moving Picture World. Cleo Madison (1883-1964) starred in many other silent films. Something of a pioneer in the film industry, she also directed a long list of shorts and feature-length films. Of this aspect of her career, she told Photoplay, "One of these days, men are going to get over the fool idea that women have no brains, and quit getting insulted at the thought that a skirt-wearer can do their work quite as well as they can. And I don't believe that day is very far off."