Directed byThomas N. Heffron
Written byDouglas Z. Doty (adaptation)
Based onSham
by Elmer Harris and Geraldine Bonner
Produced byJesse Lasky
StarringEthel Clayton
Theodore Roberts
Sylvia Ashton
CinematographyC. Edgar Schoenbaum
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • May 5, 1921 (1921-05-05)
Running time
50 mins.
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)

Sham is a lost[1] 1921 American silent romantic drama directed by Thomas N. Heffron and starring Ethel Clayton and Theodore Roberts. The film is based on the 1905 play of the same name written by Elmer Harris and Geraldine Bonner, and was adapted for the screen by Douglas Z. Doty.[2]


Based upon a description in a film publication,[3] Katherine Van Riper (Clayton) is an extravagant young society girl who is very much in debt, and her wealthy aunts and uncle refuse to give her any money. Katherine is desperate enough that she is considering marrying the wealthy Montee Buck (Hiers), although she is in love with the westerner Tom Jaffrey (Fillmore), who says he is poor. Finally, Katherine decides to sell the famous Van Riper pearls, pay off her debts, and marry Tom. However, upon examination the jewelry turns out to be paste, with her father having sold the genuine pearls several years earlier before his death. Montee is assured by the aunts that Katherine will marry him and tells this to Tom. Tom is about to leave town when Uncle James (Ricketts) steps in and pays off Katherine's debts, leaving the niece free to marry Tom.

Stars Ethel Clayton and Theodore Roberts featured in a promotional ad for the film.[4]



  1. ^ The Library of Congress/FIAF American Silent Feature Film Survival Catalog: Sham
  2. ^ Roberts, Jerry (2003). The Great American Playwrights on the Screen: A Critical Guide to Film, Video, and DVD. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 223. ISBN 1-557-83512-8.
  3. ^ "Sham: Star Pleasing as Usual; Story a Bit Weak". Film Daily. New York City: Wyd's Films and Film Folks, Inc. 16 (59): 9. May 29, 1921. Retrieved March 26, 2014.
  4. ^ "The Daily Illini" (webpage). Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections. January 13, 1921. p. 7. Retrieved July 29, 2015.