Cast & Crew
In New York, Hester Dahlgren, a wealthy admirer of Hungarian-American commercial artist Julien Fields, offers to support him for a year of study in Paris so that he can become a great artist. Although Julien declines her offer, his loving wife Helen insists that he not pass up such an opportunity. While Julien is in Paris, Helen stays in New York and is introduced to the kindhearted and wealthy Allen Greenough, who looks after her and her daughter Janet. Allen's friend agrees to look at Julien's portfolio and tells Allen in confidence that Julien is a capable draughtsman, but no great talent. Helen, however, has complete faith in Julien's artistic promise. When Julien returns to New York, he brings an unmarried Bohemian couple, Oscar and Olga, home with him, and Helen is surprised to find him a changed man. Julien immediately tells Helen she never should have made him go to Paris because he now must live the free, experimental life of an artist in search of meaning. Six months later, Julien, who rarely comes home to Helen and Janet, openly sees Hester. He still refuses to work a day job, but also does not produce paintings of any significance. Helen, meanwhile, is forced to support herself and Janet solely on her earnings as a dressmaker. Allen, now in love with Helen, tries to convince her that Julien is a talentless, lazy man who has forced her to live a half-sordid, Bohemian life, but Helen maintains her love for her husband. Allen invites her to a costume ball in a hotel and lends her his mother's jewels for her period costume. Julien is also at the ball, but Hester's husband has insisted on escorting her. When Hester invites Julien to her room, her husband, dressed in the same cape as Julien, waits for her and threatens to kill her. Hearing Hester scream, Julien enters and disarms Dahlgren, and reporters milling about the halls print the scandal. Allen, more furious with Julien than ever, asks Helen to leave Julien and marry him. In an attempt to prove Julien still cares for her, Helen keeps Allen's jewels and confesses to Julien that Allen has been making love to her. Julien is amused and nonchalantly tells her to keep the jewels. Resigned that Julien no longer cares enough for her even to be jealous, Helen tells him it is over and runs from the apartment in tears. While Janet runs after her mother, she is hit by a car and lands in the hospital. During Janet's recovery, Allen amply provides for Helen and she begins to care for him. Five months later, Janet is released from the hospital and reunites with Helen at Allen's house, as Allen has offered to stay in a hotel. When Julien comes to say goodbye to Janet, Allen tells him that Helen is seeking a divorce to marry him. That afternoon, Janet dies, and Helen, distraught with grief, tells Julien they need each other again. Julien admits to being a failure, but insists he still wants Helen, and they embrace.
An early working title for this film was Daddy's Gone A-Hunting, which was also the title of the song "Helen" sings to "Janet" in the film. New York Times and Film Daily mistakenly credit Helen Johnson in the part of "Olga." In 1925, M-G-M made a silent version of the play under the same title, which was directed by Frank Borzage and starred Alice Joyce and Percy Marmont (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.1132).