Reno (1923)

After obtaining a divorce from Emily, his second wife, Roy Tappan marries Dora Carson, who has just divorced her husband. Emily has been left poor with two children, she marries Walter ... See full summary »


Rupert Hughes


Rupert Hughes




Cast overview, first billed only:
Helene Chadwick ... Mrs. Emily Dysart Tappan
Lew Cody ... Roy Tappan
George Walsh ... Walter Heath
Carmel Myers ... Mrs. Dora Carson Tappan
Dale Fuller ... Aunt Alida Kane
Hedda Hopper ... Mrs. Kate Norton Tappan
Kathleen Key ... Yvette, the governess
Rush Hughes Rush Hughes ... Jerry Dysart, Emily's brother
Marjorie Bonner Marjorie Bonner ... Marjory Towne
Robert DeVilbiss Robert DeVilbiss ... Paul Tappan, Emily's son
Virginia Loomis Virginia Loomis ... Ivy Tappan, Emily's daughter
Richard Wayne Richard Wayne ... Arthur Clayton
Hughie Mack ... Justice of the Peace
Boyce Combe Boyce Combe ... Hal Carson
Victor Potel ... Detective McRae


After obtaining a divorce from Emily, his second wife, Roy Tappan marries Dora Carson, who has just divorced her husband. Emily has been left poor with two children, she marries Walter Heath, a former suitor. Emily discovers that she cannot live with her new husband because the divorce is not legal in her home state. Tappan and his new wife soon run out of money, each having thought the other was wealthy. His aunt promises to support him in exchange for his two children. He kidnaps the children and hides them from Emily in his aunt's home. After Emily and Walter find them, they go to Yellowstone Park, where they are considered legally married. Tappan follows and is killed after a fight with Walter when a boiling geyser throws him into the air and throws him onto the rocks below. Written by Pamela Short

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Release Date:

9 December 1923 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Law Against Law See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

The director's wife hanged herself!

Major Rupert Hughes was one of those weird real-life characters whose life story would make an excellent movie. He was an uncle of Howard Hughes, and appears to have acquired some of the same mental disorders as that billionaire. Rupert Hughes dabbled in several art forms -- he wrote a novel, he wrote a book of history, he produced a few films -- but some of those endeavours (such as this movie 'Reno') appear to be merely soapboxes for Hughes's various bugaboos.

Shortly before 'Reno' was released, Hughes's wife ran off to China and hanged herself ... and I shouldn't wonder if the timing was no coincidence. This movie is horrible.

Ostensibly, 'Reno' is a drama about the marital travails of Emily Dysart (Helene Chadwick). She has married Roy Tappan (Lew Cody), who is suave and handsome but turns out to be a scoundrel. Fortunately, Tappan divorces her, saving her the trouble of getting her own divorce. Emily marries Walter Heath (George Walsh), rather less handsome than her previous husband but much brawnier and the salt of the earth. Tappan marries Dora Carson (Carmel Myers). Sorted? Not quite, because Emily's marriage to Tappan produced two children, Paul and Ivy, whom she wants to raise, but Tappan has spitefully retained custody of them.

Most of this movie is some weird sort of divorce travelogue. Emily and her new husband proceed to pursue the Tappans all over the eastern United States -- from New York to South Carolina -- trying to find a state where the divorce laws are most congenial for Emily to regain custody of her children. The film takes a didactic tone. For some reason, filmmaker Hughes is clearly outraged that American divorce laws vary from state to state, and this movie is largely a screed against that situation. At one point, the action shifts to Virginia for the sole purpose of informing us that a girl can legally marry at age 12 in that state. (This is no longer true, but was apparently so in 1923.) Hughes doesn't seem to realise -- or perhaps doesn't want to realise -- one blunt fact: each of the states in the USA is an autonomous commonwealth that can write its own laws, so long as none of them are unconstitutional.

Eventually, Hughes seems to realise that this movie needs some sort of action climax. So, Emily's new husband chases her old husband out to Yellowstone Park, where they proceed to brawl at the edge of a geyser just before it erupts. Oh, blimey! Their fight scene is made even more ludicrous because weedy Lew Cody is clearly no match for burly George Walsh, yet Hughes keeps the fight going anyway in an attempt to create some suspense. It's no surprise how the fight ends, but it takes its time getting there.

In the role of Emily's brother, a stiff and mannered performance is supplied by one Rush Hughes, stepson of the guy who dealt this mess. Apparently, Rupert Hughes at least had the grace to adopt his wife's children before she hanged himself. I'll rate this bilge just 1 point in 10.

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