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The Female of the Species (1912)

 -  Short | Drama  -  15 April 1912 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 159 users  
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Four survivors from an abandoned mining town - a married couple, the wife's sister, and a younger woman - are making a desperate trip to safety across the desert. The wife suspects the ... See full summary »


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Cast overview:
Charles West ...
The Miner (as Charles H. West)
The Miner's Wife
The Miner's Wife's Sister
Dorothy Bernard ...
The Other Woman


Four survivors from an abandoned mining town - a married couple, the wife's sister, and a younger woman - are making a desperate trip to safety across the desert. The wife suspects the younger woman of having an affair with her husband, and soon afterwards the husband dies suddenly. The three women must then continue their journey amidst the growing tensions caused by the wife's desire for revenge. Written by Snow Leopard

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Plot Keywords:

desert | melodrama | See All (2) »


Short | Drama





Release Date:

15 April 1912 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Womankind Overcomes Man's Vagary
12 November 2007 | by (Earth) – See all my reviews

Subtitled "A Psychological Tragedy", this one's about four survivors of a deserted mining camp making their way across a hot and windy western desert. Claire McDowell leads the group; alongside her are: her ailing husband Charles West, and her sister Mary Pickford. Before leaving, Ms. McDowell invites abandoned woman Dorothy Bernard to join the group; and, she gratefully accepts. As they journey, Mr. West's health falters, and Ms. Bernard is rebuffed for showing him some possible affection.

At their first rest stop, lady leader McDowell takes Ms. Pickford out to fetch some water, leaving husband West alone with the comely Bernard. Pickford has already begun to suspect Bernard is making advances on her brother-in-law, and persuades her sister to sneak back and catch the twosome. Sure enough, they discover Bernard and West trysting - however, it was West who initiated the contact, not the suspected Bernard. After West dies of his ailments, McDowell and Pickford become obsessed with vengeance, disbelieving the innocent Bernard…

A atmospherically visual treat from D.W. Griffith, G.W. Bitzer and the good folks at Biograph; "The Female of the Species" is filmed in warm and windy California. The performances of the lead actresses McDowell, Pickford, and Bernard are outstanding. The story is not up to snuff, however - the "womankind" strengths are unbalanced by some odd motivations and situations. Perhaps the most implausible moment occurs when husband West's "dominant vagary" temporarily cures whatever is ailing him, so he can vigorously attack his alluring prey. Obviously, somebody needed to bottle vagary!

****** The Female of the Species (4/15/12) D.W. Griffith ~ Claire McDowell, Mary Pickford, Dorothy Bernard

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