I started this blog in part to pay homage to my favorite novel, ST. ELMO, and my favorite novelist, Augusta Evans Wilson. If it were not for ST. ELMO, I may not have discovered John Gilbert, who played the leading role in the film adaptation.
John Gilbert was a versatile actor, who could play the role of a “good guy” as easily as that of a “bad guy.” I’ve heard that he preferred playing bad guys. ST. ELMO was a vehicle for John Gilbert to display his ability to play both. He starts off as a bad guy, but for the love of a woman, turns into a good guy.
Below is an excerpt from page 40 of the ST. ELMO novel in which the maid is describing “St. Elmo‘s” character to the protagonist, Edna Earl.
“Listen to me, child, for I like your patient ways and want to give you a friendly warning . . . . Whatever else you do, be sure not to cross ‘Mass Elmo’s path. Keep out of his way, and he will keep out of yours, for he is shy enough of strangers, and would walk a mile to keep from meeting anybody; But if he finds you in his way, he will walk roughshod right over you–trample you. . . . He hates everybody and everything. . . . He is like a rattlesnake that crawls in his own track and bites everything that meddles or crosses his trail . . . Above everything child . . . don’t argue with him! If he says black is white, don’t contradict him; and if he swears water runs upstream, let him swear and don’t let him know water runs down . . . . Everybody is afraid of him, and gives way to him. . . . I would rather put my head in a wolf’s jaws than stir him up. [He is a] “sinful, swearing, raging devil.”
ST. ELMO is still in print. Filmmaker Robert Clem is in the process of filming a ST ELMO remake or docudrama. It is called THE PASSION OF MISS AUGUSTA.