They Like 'Em Rough (1922) *

May 22, 2023


They Like 'Em Rough

  • Metro Photoplay in Five Parts.
  • Author, Rex Taylor.
  • Director, Harry Beaumont.
  • Cameraman, John Arnold.
  • Running Time, Fifty-Five Minutes.


  • Katharine, Viola Dana;
  • Richard Wells, Jr., William E. Lawrence;
  • Richard Wells, Sr., Hardee Kirkland;
  • Mrs. Wells, Myrtle Richell;
  • Waddie, Colin Kenny;
  • Grogan, Steve Murphy;
  • Kelly, Walter Rodgers;
  • La Grande, Burton Law;
  • Pete, W. Bradley Ward;
  • Dr. Curtis, Knute Erickson;
  • Mrs. Curtis, Elsa Lorimer.

Katharine Trowbridge, orphan, living with her aunt and uncle, is peculiarly headstrong and always rebels against her guardian's wishes. Consequently, because they desire a marriage between her and Lucien Weathersbee, they pretend to oppose the match, knowing that the girl will be all the more likely to wed him. But Katharine accidentally discovers that she is being tricked. In a temper she leaves home with the determination of marrying the first man who will have her. She meets a big, bearded lumberman, offers him a hundred dollars to marry her and he accepts. The ceremony is performed by a Justice of the peace. Katharine intends to leave her husband immediately, but he forces her to accompany him into the mountains to a logging camp, where he is boss. Katharine is unaware that he is really Dick Wells, a former suitor. Katharine is compelled to cook and make herself generally useful. Among the camp hands, Kelly, an agitator, is stirring up trouble. Dick runs Kelly and two of the latter's pals out of the camp. Katharine escapes but falls into the hands of Kelly's gang. Dick's father arrives, with his wife and Katharine's uncle and aunt. Dick trails Kelly and rescues Katharine after a savage fight, during which his face is slashed by a knife. When the doctor dresses the wound and Dick's beard is removed Katharine recognizes him. He apologizes for his rough treatment of her, but Katharine replies that she likes 'em rough and has learned to love him.

This is good comedy drama, a lively mixture of humor and melodrama, spinning along at a rattling clip, things happening so swiftly that the spectators haven't time to begin analyzing the plot and determining whether it is convincing or absurd. The main fact is that the picture is very entertaining, and nobody is likely to worry over the vexed problem of the likelihood of a heroine yielding to caveman methods as she does in the present instance. And as a matter of record, the said heroine is none too gentle herself at times, and despite her diminutive size, appears quite capable of paying back the aggressive lover in his own coin, if given a fair chance. There is plenty of fun and not a few original situations, with satisfactory thrills, in They Like 'Em Rough, and the feature gives every indication of proving a valuable box-office asset.

Points of Appeal. — One of the most amusing scenes is that in which Katharine, who is more than a bit of a vixen, makes her debut unwillingly in the logging camp, attired as befits a fair fashion flower and forming a strong contrast to her rough surroundings. Dick Wells's troubles with agitator Kelly and the latter's scheming pals, and his vigorous methods of dealing with the rebels, win favor for the hero at once, and the fight in which he saves Katharine from her abductors is extremely realistic. Katharine's recognition of her former admirer and present husband brings about a happy and pleasing climax.

Cast.  Viola Dana enters thoroughly into the spirit of her role and plays Katharine with immense dash and dramatic artistry. Her keen sense of humor was never displayed to better advantage than in the episodes where she is for once compelled to bow to the force of circumstances and a stronger will than her own. William Lawrence is excellent as Dick Wells, the masterly lover.

Photography, Lighting, Direction. — There are many impressive exteriors, the forest and mountain scenery is beautifully filmed and the lighting faultless. Even continuity and fast action distinguish the entire production.

Collection: Exhibitors Trade Review, July 1922


Viola Dana | W. E. Lawrence | Hardee Kirkland | Myrtle Rishell | Colin Kenny | Steve Murphy | Walter Rodgers | Burton Law | Bradley Ward | Knute Erickson | Elsa Lorimer | Harry Beaumont