The Primitive Lover

The Primitive Lover is a 1922 American silent drama film produced by and starring Constance Talmadge and distributed by Associated First National (later First National Pictures). Sidney A. Franklin served as the director of the movie and Frances Marion wrote the scenario based on a play, The Divorcee, by Edgar Selwyn. This film survives and has been released on DVD.[1][2][3]

The Primitive Lover
Lobby card
Directed bySidney Franklin
Produced byConstance Talmadge
Written byFrances Marion (scenario)
Based onThe Divorcee
by Edgar Selwyn
StarringConstance Talmadge
Harrison Ford
CinematographyDavid Abel
Distributed byAssociated First National
Release date
  • May 1, 1922 (1922-05-01)
Running time
68 minutes; 7 reels
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)


As described in a film magazine,[4] Phyllis Tomley (Talmadge), a romance-stricken young woman, has grown tired of her prosaic, practical husband Hector (Ford) and mourns the loss of the popular author Donald Wales (Harlan), who supposedly died in South America. Wales returns and rushes to Phyllis' arms, not knowing she has married Hector. Wales accuses Hector of taking advantage of his absence, and Phyllis rushes to get a divorce in Nevada. Hector follows and becomes acquainted with an attractive grass widow. Reading Wales' book The Primitive Lover, Hector decides to put its methods into practice. He kidnaps Phyllis and Wales and in a cabin in the mountains Phyllis sees how helpless Wales is. From an Native American guide Hector learns how to subdue an unruly wife, and he tries it on Phyllis with complete success. She apparently likes the rough treatment, and is happier still when the Nevada judge denies her requested divorce.



  1. Progressive Silent Film List: The Primitive Lover at
  2. The American Film Institute Catalog Feature Films: 1921-30 by The American Film Institute, c.1971
  3. The AFI Catalog of Feature Films: The Primitive Love
  4. "Reviews: The Primitive Lover". Exhibitors Herald. New York City: Exhibitors Herald Company. 14 (23): 53. June 3, 1922.

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