Thanks to Ed Lorusso pointing me in the right direction, I got a look at Lucretia Lombard (1923). Irene Rich is married to Marc McDermott. He's old, he's irascible, he's dying, and he's angry that Irene is being escorted to the charity ball by John Roche from across the street. So he switches his sleeping pills for the aspirin and insists she gives him too many so when he dies, she'll be in trouble. What a joke! Fortunately, John's brother, Monte Blue, has just been made a judge, so he gets the investigation quashed.
Monte gets engaged to Norma Shearer (credited as "Norma Sherer"); Monte and Irene fall in love thanks, we are told by vast swaths of titles, to the irresistible force of fate; Monte and Miss Sherer are married an everyone goes off to escort Monte's father to the hospital, leaving the two competitors for Blue alone in the same house because.... well, that seems like a good idea, doesn't it?
It's the sort of story I am not overly fond of, but director Jack Conway does his usual stalwart best with it, with a melodramatic ending involving a fire, wolves and a flood. Unfortunately, while Miss Rich seems well cast, Norma Shearer is still learning her craft, and exhibits her "Ain't I cute?" tricks at full blast, causing me to want to shoot her. Mr. Blue is stuck in the middle with many a reaction shot, in which, I believe, he is supposed to look pensive. Instead, he looks like a rather doughy elder brother of Harry Langdon, thinking about the situation and not coming to any conclusion.
Fortunately, this movie did not seem to hurt anyone's career. Mr. Blue went on to work with Lubitsch in some sparkling comedies at Warners, while Conway, Shearer, and producer Harry Rapf fled to the newly formed Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, where they all did very well by themselves and the studio.
Life's too short to sit on our rears watching other people's work.
— Bob Fells