Don Juan (1926 film)

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Don Juan
Directed by Alan Crosland
Written by Maude Fulton (intertitles)
Walter Anthony (intertitles)
Screenplay by Bess Meredyth
Based on Don Juan 
by Lord Byron
Starring John Barrymore
Mary Astor
Warner Oland
Music by William Axt
David Mendoza
Cinematography Byron Haskin
Edited by Harold McCord
Distributed by Warner Bros.
Release dates
  • August 6, 1926 (1926-08-06)
Running time
112 minutes
Country United States
Language Silent
Budget $789,963
Box office $1,258,000
First-nighters posing for the camera outside the Warners' Theater before the premiere

Don Juan is a 1926 American romantic adventure/drama film directed by Alan Crosland. It is the first feature-length film to utilize the Vitaphone sound-on-disc sound system with a synchronized musical score and sound effects, though it has no spoken dialogue.[1] The film is inspired by Lord Byron's 1821 epic poem of the same name. The screenplay was written by Bess Meredyth with intertitles by Maude Fulton and Walter Anthony.[2]

Don Juan stars John Barrymore as the hand-kissing womanizer.[2] The film has the most kisses in film history, with Barrymore kissing (all together) Mary Astor and Estelle Taylor 127 times.[3]


In the prologue, Don José, warned of his wife's infidelity, seals his wife's lover alive in his hiding place and drives her from the castle; abandoned to his lust, he is stabbed by his last mistress, and with his dying words he implores his son, Don Juan, to take all from women but yield nothing. Ten years later, young Don Juan a graduate of the University of Pisa, is famous as a lover and pursued by many women, including the powerful Lucretia Borgia, who invites him to her ball; his contempt for her incites her hatred of Adriana, the daughter of the Duke Della Varnese, with whom he is enraptured; and Lucretia plots to marry her to Donati and poison the duke. Don Juan intervenes and thwarts the scheme, winning the love of Adriana, but the Borgia declare war on the duke's kinsmen, offering them safety if Adriana marries Donati; Don Juan is summoned to the wedding, but he prefers death to marriage with Lucretia. He escapes and kills Donati in a duel; the lovers are led to the death-tower, but while Adriana pretends suicide, he escapes; and following a series of battles, he defeats his pursuers and is united with Adriana.


Premiere Vitaphone Short Subjects

Don Juan premiered at the Warners' Theater in New York City, New York on August 6, 1926.

Title Year
Hon. Will H. Hays, President of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America, Who Will Address You 1926
New York Philharmonic - Overture to "Tannhäuser" 1926
Mischa Elman - “Humoresque” and “Gavotte" 1926
Roy Smeck The Wizard of the String in "His Pastimes" 1926
Marion Talley - "Caro Nome" from "Rigoletto" 1926
Efrem Zimbalist and Harold Bauer - Theme and Variations from “The Kreutzer Sonata 1926
Giovanni Martinelli - "Vesti La Giubba" 1926
Anna Case in "La Fiesta", Soprano Solo, Assisted by the Cansinos, Spanish Dancers, and the Metropolitan Opera Chorus 1926


George Groves, on assignment from The Vitaphone Corporation, was charged with recording the soundtrack to the film. He devised an innovative, multi-microphone technique and performed a live mix of the 107-strong orchestra. In doing so he became the first music mixer in film history.


The film was critically acclaimed upon release, as well as a box-office success. It was produced at a cost of $789,963, the largest budget of any Warner Bros. film up to that point. The soundtrack for the film was performed by the New York Philharmonic.

Preservation status

A print of Don Juan, including its Vitaphone soundtrack, still survives and is preserved at the UCLA Film and Television Archive.[3] [4][5]

Home media

In 2011, the film, along with the original Vitaphone sound shorts, was released on manufactured-on-demand DVD by the Warner Archive Collection.[6]

See also


  1. Stephens, E. J.; Wanamaker, Marc (2010). Early Warner Bros. Studios. Arcadia Publishing. p. 25. ISBN 0-738-58091-0.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 White Munden, Kenneth, ed. (1997). The American Film Institute Catalog of Motion Pictures Produced in the United States, Part 1. University of California Press. p. 195. ISBN 0-520-20969-9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 Don Juan at database
  4. The Library of Congress American Silent Feature Film Survival Catalog:Don Juan
  5. 1957 MOVIES FROM AAP Warner Bros Features & Cartoons SALES BOOK DIRECTED AT TV
  6. Don Juan DVD release at

External links