Just a Wife

Just a Wife is a 1910 play by Eugene Walter that was adapted to silent film in 1920.

Just a Wife
Written byEugene Walter
Date premieredBroadway February 1, 1910 (1910-02-01)
Place premieredBelasco Theatre
Original languageEnglish
Just a Wife
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Directed byHoward C. Hickman
Written byKatherine S. Reed
Release date
CountryUnited States

It was performed on Broadway at the Belasco Theatre in 1910, and was made into a silent film released in 1920 and directed by Howard C. Hickman.[1]

1910 play

After producer David Belasco chose actress Frances Starr over playwright Eugene Walter's wife Charlotte Walker to star in the 1909 popular play The Easiest Way, Walter wrote Just a Wife for her.[2] After out-of-town warmup performances in Cleveland, Buffalo, and Rochester,[3] it debuted on Broadway at the Belasco Theatre on February 1, 1910.[4] The reviews were not generally positive, though it ran for 79 performances.[5][6]

Critic William Winter summarized the plot as follows:

In this play a libertine named John Emerson, who has consorted with a widow named Lathrop until their relation has become a public scandal, by way of "keeping up appearances" marries an impecunious vestal from South Carolina, named, Mary Ashby. As he immediately installs Mrs. Emerson in a luxurious rural habitation somewhere on Long Island and practically deserts her, this expedient would hardly seem to be of much social service. However, after neglecting his wife for about six years, Emerson grows weary of his mistress, quarrels with her and runs way from her to visit his wife. The mistress, much incensed, follows him, and a short of three-cornered debate, --protracted, sophistical, and indelicate, --on the sexual relation is held at Mrs. Emerson's country residence, in the course of which that lady manifests a sweet temper and admirable self-control. After is it over, Mrs. Lathrop (to whom it has been intimated that in men the ruling passion is sex impulse and that she is growing somewhat elderly) goes away in a peaceful and much chastened mood. Mrs. Emerson then snubs her neglectful spouse and signifies that he may not hope to possess her as his wife until he has recognized the supremacy of Love, which it is implied he will soon do.[7]


1920 film cast


  1. (6 December 1919). Here and There, Motion Picture News, p. 4123
  2. Some Secrets of the Dramatists Workshop, The Theatre, May 1910, p. 144
  3. (15 January 1910). "Just a Wife" Premier in Cleveland, The New York Times
  4. (30 January 1910). The Theatre, New York Tribune, p. 6, col. 2
  5. (15 February 1910). New Plays In New York: "Just a Wife" Eugene Walter's New Play, Milwaukee Sentinel
  6. (5 February 1910). Four New Plays Are Saved by the Fine Work of the Individual Stars, Toledo News-Bee
  7. Winter, William. The Life of David Belasco, Vol. II, p. 288 (1918)
  8. Gilbert, E.T. (1905). Actors and Actresses by Different Writers, Compiled from Various Magazines. 1. p. 404. Retrieved 2015-02-13.
  9. Flower, B.O.; Zueblin, C. (1910). The Twentieth Century Magazine. 2. Twentieth Century Company. p. 113. Retrieved 2015-02-13.
  10. Slide, Anthony. The Encyclopedia of Vaudeville, p. 375-76 (2012)
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