THE SILENT TREATMENT: Paths to Paradise (1925)

“Raymond Griffith seems to me to occupy a handsome fifth place — after Chaplin, Keaton, Lloyd, and Langdon — in the silent comedy pantheon, a place that is his by right of his refusal to ape his contemporaries, and his insistence on following the devious curve of an entirely idiosyncratic eye.” — Walter Kerr, The Silent Clowns

He was known as the “Silk Hat Comedian” — he was beloved by millions for his suave, debonair brand of comedic grace — and yet, today almost no one knows his name. One of the many silent era stars whose work was lost to time (due to the lack of any surviving film prints) the prolific Raymond Griffith utilized as his trademark a top hat, a tuxedo and a cunning charm that easily set him apart from other top-billed laughmakers of the day. Only a tiny handful of Griffith’s pictures remain for us to enjoy, such as the Civil War comedy Hands Up!, Tod Browning’s White Tiger and tonight’s drawing-room farce; come celebrate the hidden legacy of one of the Twenties’ most humorous ladykillers with Paths To Paradise, starring Griffith and Betty Compson as dueling grifters on the make for the same wealthy schnook’s collection of diamonds. Preceeding the film is the 1925 comedy short Hold My Baby!
Paths To Paradise Dir. Clarence G. Badger, 1925, 35mm, 53 min. (only surviving print, courtesy of the Library of Congress)
Hold My Baby Dir. James W. Horne, 1925, 35mm, approx. 20 min (Print courtesy of the Library of Congress)