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Early Silent Movies 1914
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Movie: Judith of Bethulia ( 1914 )
A fascinating work of high artistry, "Judith of Bethulia" will not only rank as an achievement in this country, but will make foreign producers sit up and take notice. It has a signal and imperative message, and the technique displayed throughout an infinity of detail, embracing even the delicate film tinting and toning, marks an encouraging step in the development of the new art. Ancient in story and settings, it is modern in penetrative interpretation - it is a vivid history of one phase of the time it concerns, and is redemptive as well as relative, a lesson from one of those vital struggles that made and unmade nations as well as individuals, yet it is not without that inspiring influence that appeals powerfully to human sense of justice. The entire vigorous action of the play works up to the personal sacrifice of Judith of Bethulia, a perilous chance she takes for the sake of the lives and happiness of her people. She dares expose herself to overwhelming humiliation and dishonor in a challenge of beauty to strength, struggles through a conversion of sentiment that makes the high crisis more acute, and sets at defiance the "better-death-than-dishonor" platitude, escaping both through that all-conquering combination in a woman, great physical beauty joined to lofty intelligence. She enters upon a relation of constant peril - only delicate treatment saves the situation at times - abandons her native purity of conduct and dares her own undoing, yet the noble end justified the dangerous means, and she emerges idealized by her people, an apotheosis of splendid womanhood. Bethulia is a fortified town of Judea, guarding a hill pass through which an invading Assyrian army must march in order to enter Judea. In the town lives Judith, a devout young woman of lofty character and remarkable beauty, when the place is stormed by Holofernes at the head of a large army. The fighting before the gate brings into action an enormous number of soldiers on both sides, and those engines of war, such as the battering ram and catapult, which were used by the fighting male of other days under close condition of furious combat. One desperate assault after another is repelled, scaling ladders are thrown down, great rocks are showered upon the invaders, and the wonder is that they keep at it. The reason is that Holofernes has a way of torturing and killing unsuccessful captains. As officer had better die in the thick of battle than return with a confession of defeat. Holofernes is as merciless as nature to all who fail. The great leader's brutality of his captains when they do not succeed in carrying the fortress by storm indicates what the inhabitants of Bethulia may expect in the event of capture and serves to intensify the clash of character later on - it adds peril to the undertaking of Judith when she resolves to sacrifice herself for her people. Holofernes, after making a horrible example of defeated captains by frightful torture, resorts to strategy. His soldiers have seized the wells from which the inhabitants of Bethulia obtained their water supply, and their leader adopts waiting tactics, diverting himself with dancing girls to break the tedium. Bethulia is on the verge of famine, and the besieged are almost ready to surrender the fortress and all Judea to the spoilers, when Judith goes forth in her finest raiment, accompanied only by her maid, enters the Assryian camp and obtains an interview with the merciless Holofernes. Against his formidable strength, his brutal ferocity and cunning, his absolute power, are matched her fascinating personality directed by intelligence and hidden purpose. She is willing to carry "her fault on her shoulders like a coronation mantle." The dangerous and difficult situation from this point to Judith's terrible triumph and the defeat of the invading Assyrians is pictured without loss of force or charm by extreme delicacy of treatment. Beauty is constantly asserted by almost reckless prodigality in the matter of costume, and by the appeal of delightful acting. The feminine sweetness and shyness of the lovely Judith are intensified by her advances and retreats in measuring her sex attractions against his formidable power. She is weakened at the critical moment by a sudden flame of passion and compassion aroused in her breast, but self-control returns at a thought of all that is at stake, the safety and happiness of thousands of her people, and she dares be all and do all that revolts her finer nature from a deep hatred of injustice and wrong meted out to her peace-loving kindred and friends, from a noble desire to preserve her country and the destinies of her race.
Movie: Julius Caesar ( 1914 )
The growing ambition of Julius Caesar is a source of major concern to his close friend Brutus. Cassius persuades him to participate in his plot to assassinate Caesar but they have both sorely underestimated Mark Antony.
Movie: Cabiria ( 1914 )
Three centuries before Christus. Young Cabiria is kidnapped by some pirates during one eruption of the Etna. She is sold as a slave in Carthage, and as she is just going to be sacrificed to god Moloch, Cabiria is rescued by both Fulvio Axilla, a Roman noble, and his giant slave Maciste. Maciste is captured just after having confided Cabiria to Sophinisbe's safe keeping, while Fulvio Axilla manages to escape from Carthage. Ten years went away with Punic wars before he is able to come back to Carthage...
Movie: The Squaw Man ( 1914 )
A chivalrous British officer takes the blame for his cousin's embezzlement and journeys to the American West to start a new life on a cattle ranch.
Movie: The Bargain ( 1914 )
After the bandit Jim Stokes robs the stage he is wounded fleeing. Recuperating at a ranch, he falls in love with and marries the daughter. Now wishing to go straight he tries to return the money but is recognized and captured. When the Sheriff then loses the recovered money at a crooked roulette table, he and Stokes strike a bargain.
Movie: The Virginian ( 1914 )
A good-natured but chivalrous cowboy romances the local schoolmarm and leads the posse that brings a gang of rustlers, which includes his best friend, to justice.
Movie: The Call of the North ( 1914 )
Trader Ned Stewart's father Graehme was unjustly accused of adultery and killed. Ned sets out to avenge his father but is captured and send on "la longue traverse," the long journey to death. Virginia saves Ned, and the villain confesses Graehme's innocence on his deathbed.
Movie: The Spoilers ( 1914 )
The first of many filmed adaptations of Rex Beach's adventure novel of the Alaskan gold-rush.
Movie: Salomy Jane ( 1914 )
When beautiful Salomy Jane resists the romantic advances of a young ruffian, she is rescued by Jack Dart, who has his own additional reasons for tangling with the man. Jack fights the ruffian and kills him. He escapes with the law on his trail, for it is (wrongly) presumed that he is also the man who held up the stagecoach. Salomy Jane comes to his rescue when he is captured and about to be lynched.
Movie: Atlantis ( 1914 )
After Dr. Friedrich's wife becomes mentally unstable and his research papers are rejected, he leaves the country to respite.
Movie: The Patchwork Girl of Oz ( 1914 )
Ojo and Unc Nunkie are out of food, so they decide to journey to the Emerald City where they will never starve. Along the way, they meet Mewel, a waif and stray (mule) who leads them to Dr. Pipt, who has been stirring the powder of life for nine years. Ojo adds plenty of brains to Margolotte's Patchwork servant before she is brought to life with the powder. When Scraps does come to life, she accidentally knocks the liquid of petrifaction upon Unc Nunkie, Margolotte, and Danx (daughter Jesseva's boyfriend). So all go on separate journeys to find the ingredients to the antidote. (Of course Jesseva has Danx shrunken to take with her, which causes trouble with Jinjur.) Of course, no one ever told Ojo that some of the ingredients were illegal to obtain...
Movie: The New Wizard of Oz ( 1914 )
A wicked king has taken over the Emerald City, and wants his daughter, Princess Gloria, to marry the horrid courtier Googly-Goo, though she loves Pon, the Gardener's Boy. The camera now follows two farmers placing a Scarecrow upon a pole in a cornfield. Meanwhile, Pon rescues a Kansas girl named Dorothy from the evil witch Mombi, to whom Princess Gloria has been taken by King Krewl to freeze her heart so she will no longer love Pon. An Indian princess conducts a ceremony to bring the Scarecrow to life. Pon rescues the cold-hearted princess and they flee in search of help, discovering the Scarecrow (who promptly falls in love with the princess) and Button-Bright, a lost boy from America. They come to the castle of the Tin Emperor, Nick Chopper, and after oiling him, he falls in love with Gloria. After a bit of a chase aided by the Sawhorse and the Wizard, Mombi turns Pon into a Kangaroo, and a slew of Fred Woodward's animals battle it out.
Movie: Neptune's Daughter ( 1914 )
The daughter of King Neptune determines to avenge the death of her sister, who was caught in a fishing net laid by the king of a country above the waves. However, she soon falls in love with the king upon whom she planned to take her revenge.
Movie: The Magic Cloak ( 1914 )
The fairies of Oz gather in the forest of Burzee one evening and weave a magic cloak that gives the wearer one wish, so long as it has not been stolen. The man in the moon tells them that their messenger should give it to the first miserable person she sees. Two children, Fluff and her younger brother "Bud" (a child's attempt at "brother," which stuck), have just lost their father and are taken by Aunt Rivette to live in Nole, the capital city of Noland, where the king has just died without heir. The messenger gives Fluff the cloak, who wishes to be happy again, while a legal loophole places Bud on the throne, and they empty the treasury to buy toys. Their pet mule Nickodemus is captured by robbers and puts together a small animal army (including the Cowardly Lion, the Hungry Tiger, the Lonesome Zoop, the Woozy, and others) to battle the Rolly Rogues that have invaded the city. The cloak is nowhere to be found because 683 year old bewitching Queen Zixi of neighboring Ix, has been informed by Quavo the minstrel of the cloaks power, and wants to see herself young and beautiful, as others see her, but she cannot.
Movie: Cinderella ( 1914 )
Though mistreated by her cruel stepmother and stepsisters, Cinderella is able to attend the royal ball through the help of a fairy godmother.
Movie: Tess of the Storm Country ( 1914 )
A wealthy resident attempts to dispossess squatters who live near his home, which leads to a false accusation of murder.
Movie: The Avenging Conscience: or 'Thou Shalt Not Kill' ( 1914 )
Thwarted by his despotic uncle from continuing his love affair, a young man turns to thoughts of murder. Experiencing a series of visions, he sees murder as a normal course of events in life and kills his uncle. Tortured by his conscience, his future sanity is uncertain as he is assailed by nightmarish visions of what he has done.
Movie: The Massacre ( 1914 )
An army scout, Stephen, asks a young woman to marry him, only to discover that she loves another man. Stephen rejoins the army, while the other two get married and have a child. Two years later, the young family heads west as part of a wagon train, while the scout takes part in a brutal raid on an Indian village that leaves the survivors thirsting for revenge. As the wagon train including the young family heads into dangerous country, Stephen is part of the military escort that is assigned to protect it. Not long afterward, when the wagons stop to make camp, Indians stage a carefully planned attack on the camp.
Movie: Gertie the Dinosaur ( 1914 )
Winsor Z. McCay bets another cartoonist that he can animate a dinosaur. So he draws a big friendly herbivore called Gertie. Then he get into his own picture. Gertie walks through the picture, eats a tree, meets her creator, and takes him carefully on her back for a ride.
Movie: Tillie's Punctured Romance ( 1914 )
Charlie talks wealthy farmer's daughter Tillie into eloping with him (and taking her father's money). In the city Tillie gets drunk and lands in jail while Charlie runs off with her money and his old girlfriend Mabel. Later Charlie reads that Tillie (now working as a waitress) has inherited the estate of her multi-millionaire uncle. Charlie dumps Mabel and talks Tillie into moving into her uncle's villa, and Mabel arranges to become a housemaid there. The uncle (never really dead) returns and summons the police to have them all thrown out.
Movie: Home, Sweet Home ( 1914 )
John Howard Payne at his most miserable point in life, writes a song which becomes popular and inspires other people at some point in their lives.
Movie: Into the Wilderness ( 1914 )
Agatha, an English society girl, is secretly married to Howard, a young officer of the Military Academy. Gordon, Howard's classmate, is infatuated with the secret bride. Howard refuses to make public his marriage with Agatha. Later, there is a fight between the two men and both imagine they have killed the other. Gordon goes to Canada and becomes a member of the mounted police. Howard also goes to Canada, leaving instructions for the girl, wife to follow. Howard falls into evil ways and when Agatha arrives, she is unable to find him. While traveling across the country, Agatha is caught in a wreck caused by Howard's pals, who were to hold up the train. Agatha is found by Gordon and cared for. Howard is sought after by Gordon and when he comes upon the cabin one day, Gordon is about to capture him. Agatha meets her husband face to face and confesses; she pleads with Gordon to allow him to escape and the officer consents. Howard is shot by other police in the attempted escape and Gordon is apprehended for unfaithful duty and disgraced. Meanwhile the news of what is going on has reached England, and Howard's sister starts out to find Gordon and bring him back to his heart-broken mother. They all meet and the party return to England with the memory of their terrible experiences in the wilderness strong in their minds and with a suggested love between Agatha and Gordon.
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