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Old Wives for New (1918)

 -  Drama  -  19 May 1918 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.5/10 from 110 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 1 critic

Charles Murdock neglects his fat and lazy wife in favor of Juliet Raeburn but, when Juliet's name is involved in murder, he marries Viola and takes her to Paris.


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Complete credited cast:
Elliott Dexter ...
Charles Murdock
Juliet Raeburn
Sylvia Ashton ...
Sophy Murdock
Sophy in Prologue
Theodore Roberts ...
Tom Berkeley
Norma Murdock
Marcia Manon ...
Viola Hastings
J. Parks Jones ...
Charley Murdock
Edna Mae Cooper ...
Gustav von Seyffertitz ...
Melville Bladen
Lillian Leighton ...
Mayme Kelso ...
Saleslady (as Alice Taafe)


Charles Murdock neglects his fat and lazy wife in favor of Juliet Raeburn but, when Juliet's name is involved in murder, he marries Viola and takes her to Paris. Written by Ed Stephan <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

based on novel | See All (1) »







Release Date:

19 May 1918 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hustru - Moder - Elskerinde  »

Box Office


$66,241 (estimated)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Tom Berkeley: [after he has been shot] She didn't do it - it was the little one! This must be hushed up, Charlie - damn it all, my reputation *must* be saved!
See more »


Referenced in Cecil B. DeMille: American Epic (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

Contemporary Love Triangle Story from DeMille Seems a Costumer After 90 Plus Years
30 November 2010 | by (North Texas sticks (see all my reviews)) – See all my reviews

A bit of a commentary on the silent movie experience.

Cecil B. DeMille's Old Wives for New was not one of the spectacular costume productions for which he is best known. It was a love triangle story set in modern times -- at least modern for when it was released, May 1918. But for those of us who watch it today through the magic of the restored DVD it starts looking like a costumer when we see all the gorgeous and not so gorgeous proto-flapper babes dressed in bizarre, exotic fashions of the day. Long, flowing dresses gussied up with tassels and bows and flowers and feathers and gizmos that a fashion-ignorant man like me doesn't have a clue what it is. Head gear including everything from beaded, crocheted cloches to turbans to yard-wide hats. The baroque interior sets were likewise exotic looking viewed from the early twenty-first century. None of this gear is completely unfamiliar to me. I have a box full of photos inherited from my great Aunt Sue, who was a pretty teenager then, with her and her friends and relatives dolled up in the same fashions. Nevertheless, as I watched Old Wives for New, I had to keep reminding myself that this was not a historical drama but filmed with contemporary clothes and sets. That is one of the angles that makes watching silent movies such a pleasurable experience. We are not reading about history, we are seeing it. In May 1918 in France the huge and bloody climactic battles of World War I were raging, leading to its end six months later. Aunt Sue's future husband, whom she had not yet met, was "over there" in the middle of it. Late that year the influenza epidemic to end all epidemics would take the lives of more Americans than the Civil War had. Included among the dead were both my grandmothers.

I hope young people today realize what a treasure these old flicks are. When I was a kid in the 1950's, I would hear stories from my great grandmother and others about the Civl War and think how nice it would be if they had had movies then, and we could watch them now. Well, now we have movies from 90 years ago.

Old Wives for New was a pretty good one. Acting very good, especially from Elliot Dexter, Florence Vidor, and Sylvia Ashton, the principles of the love triangle. Direction, cinematography and layout were as good as always in a Cecil B. movie. I rated it a six but would probably have given it a seven if it had been a talkie. Sorry, not fair, but sound is so much a part of the movie experience, it seems a silent is just not quite a fulfilled movie, however good for the limitation.

That brings up the question of how much watching this handsomely restored DVD is like the real 1918 movie goer's experience. Were the tints really as good as we get on the DVD? Did they really have all those white highlights seen in some scenes? Were the tinted prints only shown in big city theaters and just black & white ones in the sticks? More importantly, my DVD version has made it into what is actually a sound movie. Don Juan (1926) was regarded then and still is by movie historians as the first sound picture, because it had a synchronized sound track with music and some sound effects but no talking. That's what New Wives for Old and other DVD restorations of silents have. Not only do we hear gun shots but the vocal of a phonograph. Not that I'm complaining. The beautiful score with appropriate period tunes greatly enhanced the enjoyment of watching the movie. But that's not the way anyone experienced it in 1918. At the premiere in a big movie house there may have been a full orchestra. Otherwise the best would have been an ensemble with piano and a couple of violins. At small Podunk town movie houses only a 4th rate piano player plunking out stock tunes appropriate for each scene but always the same for a love scene, always the same for a dramatic moment, always the same for a chase. Realizing this means that -- just possibly -- any given restored silent we see today may not have seemed so good when it was new.

Nevertheless, it is terrific to have the restored and "enhanced" silents to watch, and watching them is great fun. Old Wives for New is a good one.

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