Title: The Land of Promise
Author: W. Somerset Maugham
Maugham, W. Somerset (1914, 1921). The Land of Promise. In The Works of Somerset Maugham: Nine Novels in One Volume (first edition, Halcyon Classics) Houston, TX: Halcyon Press Ltd.; First edition (re-issued in 2009). Kindle Edition (downloaded December 21, 2010)
Date Posted: November 7, 2014
The Land of Promise is a 1917 silent film produced by Famous Players-Lasky and distributed by Paramount Pictures. It was directed by Joseph Kaufman and starred Billie Burke and Thomas Meighan. The film is based on the 1913 play by W. Somerset Maugham, The Land of Promise, which also starred Burke on Broadway with Shelly Hull as her leading man.
The play was toned down to make the film in its Canadian version. An English girl, Nora Marsh (Burke), goes to Manitoba, Canada, to live on a farm run by her brother Edward. But Nora’s British reserve angers Edward’s hard-working wife Gertie (Mary Alden), because she mistakes it for snobbery. One of the farm’s hands, the manly Frank Taylor (Thomas Meighan), has saved up a bit of money and announces that he’s going to start his own farm. He also plans to go to an employment agency to find a wife who can cook and sew for him. Nora, who has been arguing with Gertie, offers herself. So they are married and Frank takes her to his crude farmhouse. In the play, he brutally takes advantage of the marriage vows that first night, but in the film, he sleeps on the floor while she turns the farmhouse into a dream of domesticity. Finally, after six months, he suggests that she at least kiss him. His crops wind up failing, and Edward arrives with an unexpected inheritance for Nora. He intends to take her home, but she realizes that she has come to love Frank and decides to stick by him.