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Santa Cruz County History - Films
Santa Cruz Evening News. May 18, 1916. p. 1
"THE SEA URCHIN" HAS ALL THE ELEMENTS OF A GOOD STRONG TWO REEL FILM
Entirely setting aside our proneness to praise without reason on account of local pride, we wish to stamp "The Sea Urchin," the first release of the Fer Dal company under the direction of Leon O. Kent and given its premier at the Unique theater this morning. as an exceptionally good two-reeler.
The plot is sharply drawn, the photography is excellent, the picture is not padded and the exterior locations along our own cliffs between Moore's beach and Vue de l'Eau and in the fishing village at Capitola, have been well chosen and really give the subject a true artistic value.
Nan Christy, a trim little actress with an attractive screen face, plays the part of the Urchin. Nature has endowed her with pretty figure and in two scenes where she sits on the rocks in her bare skin and lets the wind fondle her tresses and breakers shower her with foam, she is indeed bewitching. She is an actress, a very necessary qualification in a short subject where the emotional changes are usually rapid and must not be overdone.
The Sea Urchin as a baby is found on the rocks in a broken raft. She is taken home by the village constable and fisherman (Leon D. Kent) and his little nephew Dick (Jack Connelly) becomes her playmate and later her lover.
The escape of a convict (Fred Underwood) from his captor (Lou Carter) in the neighborhood brings about a near tragedy in the life of the Urchin, now a carefree girl of eighteen whose whole life has been spent among the tide-sweep nooks and crannies of the seashore. This villain hides in a natural cave of the shore for his own protection and one day finding the beautiful girl alone his baser elements come to the surface and she becomes his victim. The story from this point rapidly unfolds. The escaped convict is caught in the village through his craving for food which forced him to throw discretion to the winds A photograph given the constable by the deputy after the man's escape helps in the identification, even the Urchin recognizing him in this way.
The Urchin, overwhelmed by her shame, is rapidly losing her mind and is about to end her life when her foster father's search for the criminal begins. It ends on the cliffs where after a hair-raising tussle on the brink of a ledge of rocks the villain is thrown into the sea. The Urchin's mind is cleared through her witnessing this tragic end of her traducer and she finally once more opens her heart to her lover and the story ends happily.
The escape of the criminal is staged on a Southern Pacific train between Seabright and Twin Lakes stations. The escape(e) jumps from the train as it passes over the first trestle out of Seabright into the water of the lake.
The acting of the characters in "The Urchin" was above par. The story was properly connected so that sub-titles were hardly necessary.
Elsier LeMay, the Sea Urchin as a baby was true to life in her howling part. Mr Kent at this juncture acted naturally, offering the leather-lunged youngster his pipe instead of the nursing bottle.
Due credit must be given to all of the cast of "The Sea Urchin" because they have had the satisfaction of taking part in the best release ever filmed at Santa Cruz and developed by the local company.
About seventy-five people witnessed the production this morning.