Fantômas makes it as the emperor of Crime. First is the robbery at the Royal Palace Hotel. Then he abducts Lord Beltham. As Fantômas' fame increases actor Valgrand creates the rôle of ... See full summary »
A poor student rescues a beautiful countess and soon becomes obsessed with her. A sorcerer makes a deal with the young man to give him fabulous wealth and anything he wants, if he will sign... See full summary »
Young Pauline is left a lot of money when her wealthy uncle dies. However, her uncle's secretary has been named as her guardian until she marries, at which time she will officially take ... See full summary »
Ingeborg Holm's husband opens up a grocery store and life is on the sunny side for them and their three children. But her husband becomes sick and dies. Ingeborg tries to keep the store, ... See full summary »
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 ... See full summary »
An account of the life of Jesus Christ, based on the books of the New Testament: After Jesus' birth is foretold to his parents, he is born in Bethlehem, and is visited by shepherds and wise... See full summary »
R. Henderson Bland,
After a body disappears from inside the prison, a series of crimes take place, all seemingly by the dead man. With Juve presumed dead, Fandor must investigate alone. Will Fantomas finally be brought to justice?
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... See full summary »
An immigrant leaves his sweetheart in Italy to find a better life across the sea in the grimy slums of New York. They are eventually reunited and marry. But life in New York is hard and ... See full summary »
J. Frank Burke
An early social commentary on the New York sex trade, this film attempts to sensationalize prostitution, especially forced prostitution. Featuring a number of characters and sub-plots, the film is presented as if it were a documentary. Written by
Describing this as the most important film in Universal Picture's history (and Carl Laemmle's) may not be an overstatement. Made for a mere $5,700.00 and tackling the lurid subject of white slavery, this (Universal's first feature length release) earned a whopping $450,000.00 and it put the company squarely on the map. See more »
A huge controversy in its day due to its salacious subject matter, Traffic in Souls is a creaky yet fascinating forefather of movie exploitation. One of the earliest feature-length Hollywood films ever made, director George Loane Tucker filmed his project away from the prying eyes of the producers with the knowledge that he would be shut down immediately in they caught a whiff of what he was actually up to. Tackling the unspeakable subject of white slavery, the film is of course incredibly tame by today's standards, but it's no surprise that it went on to become a box-office smash thanks to the inevitable media outcry.
The story follows a variety of characters who are introduced individually with title cards akin to reading a programme at the theatre. The main players include police officer Burke (Matt Moore), the archetypal humble hero engaged to the beautiful Mary Barton (Jane Gail); high society-type and head of the Citizen's League Willaim Trubus (William Welsh); and Mary's sister Lorna (Ethel Grandin), who is hustled by pimp Bill Bradshaw (William Cavanaugh) into joining his brothel. Trubus is at the head of the prostitute ring, and along with his go-between (Howard Crampton), a small gang of heavies and thugs, and a nifty, stolen invention that works like an early wire-tap, makes a fortune in kidnapping and selling women for sex.
Although the subject matter is controversial, the action depicted on screen is certainly not. The film spends a long time showing us the inner workings of the prostitute ring, from the bottom to the very top, which gives the film a clinical, procedural feel, although it keeps its characters at a distance. There are no scenes that even suggest what these women are exposed to, so we get to witness them crying in an empty room a lot. But this is captivating stuff at times, not only tapping into its audience's desire to see something forbidden, but helping define cinematic narrative as a whole. Some flashy techniques, such as stop-motion and camera glides, prove that people were developing these styles long before D.W. Griffith. It's certainly primitive, but demonstrates a remarkable maturity for its age, with even the actors dumping the wide-eyed overacting so popular in silent cinema for something all the more subtle.
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