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A Romance of the Redwoods (1917)

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A young girl travels west to live with her uncle during the California Gold Rush only to find that he has been killed by Indians and his identity assumed by an outlaw.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Elliott Dexter ...
'Black' Brown, Road Agent
...
Sam Sparks
Raymond Hatton ...
Dick Roland
Charles Ogle ...
Jim Lyn
Walter Long ...
Sheriff
Winter Hall ...
John Lawrence, Uncle To Jenny
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Storyline

'Black' Brown, a notorious road agent on the run from the law, stumbles on the body of John Lawrence, an honest prospector during the early years of the California Gold Rush, riddled with Indian arrows. Brown takes the dead man's clothes and papers and is able to pass himself off as a good citizen in 1850's Calaveras County. When Lawrence's sister dies, her daughter spends the little money she has to journey to California and live with her uncle. Arriving at the isolated cabin, she realizes he is an impostor, but his threats intimidate her into silence. Lacking money and protection, she immediately becomes vulnerable to the advances of the largely all-male population, and so must acknowledge Brown publicly as her uncle in order to continue to receive food, shelter, and his protection. Over time, this understanding of mutual convenience turns to affection, and he pledges to reform. When former members of his gang continue their dishonest ways, however, the now rehabilitated Brown falls... Written by G. Taverney (duke1029@aol.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Details

Country:

Release Date:

14 May 1917 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La bête enchaînée  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$134,832 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Most of the $135,000 budget for the film went to pay Mary Pickford's salary -$96,666.67. See more »

Quotes

'Black' Brown, Road Agent: [to Jenny] Your uncle's dead! I'm John Lawrence in these doggings -- and I'm not going to let any fool kid spoil my game!
See more »

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User Reviews

 
The mores of the times
10 June 2014 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Romance Of The Redwoods was the first of two films that Mary Pickford did for Cecil B. DeMille. Pickford came as part of the package when the Famous-Players Company merged with the Jesse L. Lasky Picture Corporation to form Famous-Players-Lasky which eventually was Paramount. Adolph Zukor asked DeMille to do a film with her and DeMille wanted a war film. Zukor insisted on a western first and we got Romance Of The Redwoods.

Both DeMille and Pickford came from the tradition of the Victorian Theater and in fact when DeMille was an actor he appeared with Pickford on stage in one production. Now she was a big star and rising and usually had her own way in terms of crew, script, and directing. That was not how DeMille worked and he got his way.

Romance Of The Redwoods sadly is terribly dated and could use some restoration. Mary plays a girl gone west to live with her uncle in the California gold fields. But her uncle was killed by Indians. Notorious road agent Elliott Dexter finds the uncle's body and swaps clothes and identity with him as he's looking to get out of the outlaw game as folks are getting tired of the lack of law and order and are ready to form a vigilante committee.

Mary, America's Sweetheart, faces a challenge in that she knows Dexter is not her uncle, but where else can a good girl go in those wild mining camps and keep her virtue. As for Dexter he's impressed with her virtue and the inevitable happens.

As another reviewer said, the ending is quite unbelievable but it was in keeping with the Pickford image and the mores of the times. Still it's sadly dated and probably won't find favor with current audiences.


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