Captain Wynnegate leaves England, accepting the blame for embezzling charity funds though knowing that his cousin Sir Henry is guilty. Out West he and the Indian girl Nat-U-Rich save each other from the evil cattle rustler Cash Hawkins and marry. Lady Diana shows up to announce Sir Henry's death. After Nat-U-Rich's suicide Wynnegate takes his half-breed son and Lady Diana back to England as the new Earl of Kerhill. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
The musical composition "Nat-u-ritch: An Indian idyll. Intermezzo from The Squaw Man" by Theodore Bendix was published to promote the picture. See more »
When he is in his hotel room in New York, Captain Wynnegate looks out of his window. This is followed by a cut to an obvious still photograph of the Broadway/Times Square district by night, meant to represent the view from the Captain's window. See more »
History seems to consider The Squaw Man to be Hollywood's first feature-length film. However, Custer's Last Fight (Francis Ford, 1912*) runs at just under an hour. I'd consider that feature-length. And it was made in Hollywood. So, I dunno.
In any event, this is a really important film, historically, and Cecil B. DeMille's first feature--and his first film, period. Supposedly, he hadn't even seen a film until shortly before he made this. It totally shows.
It's kind of a clumsy jumble of scenes taken from a book. There's no real cinematic logic or flow. There are lots of scenes of people just standing around talking--which doesn't really work in a silent film, especially without many intertitles. Characters were hard to tell apart, because they were mostly filmed in long shot. I found it all somewhat difficult to follow, although I guess I got the gist.
Still, some of the individual scenes are interesting. I suppose the theme of interracial marriage was probably notable for the time (and its outcome predictable). And the film ws mostly filmed on location, which made it a bit easier to watch. I don't imagine I'll ever feel a burning desire to see this again, but it was worthwhile seeing once as an historical document.
C. B. DeMille did learn his craft quickly. By 1915, he was doing vastly better work than this (Carmen, The Cheat).
* Although the version I saw was a 1920s reissue, and it's possible it had some footage added, but it seems unlikely, because that almost certainly would have been jarringly obvious.
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