Partners Three (1919)


Partners Three (1919) was a full-scale "women's" film centered on Mary (Enid Bennett), and her troubled odyssey through work, marriage, spousal abuse, and true love.

Partners Three highlights the evil of alcohol as America began its experiment with prohibition. Mary incarnates the purity of her name, and the movie is striking for the harsh events she must endure. The desert environment is initially no less so, but reveals a beauty of its own. While it exposes Haywood's (Robert McKim) degradation, it is ultimately a source of strength for Mary, Arthur (Casson Ferguson), and Hardy (John P. Lockney). In it is the opportunity that will bring them wealth from the mine, along with a clean life with a husband who will honor her love. Similarly, the work in Sandflat contrasts with the degradation she endured singing in the urban café. Equally significant among the partners three is Hardy, who accepts his fatherly position with Mary, although clearly her gratitude has touched him in decidedly un-paternal ways. His own upstanding nature has ended his isolation and won him a place in a newly-formed family.

(Brian Taves)