Old Wives for New (1918)

 |  Drama  |  19 May 1918 (USA)
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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 ...
Juliet Raeburn
Sylvia Ashton ...
Sophy Murdock
Sophy in Prologue
Tom Berkeley
Norma Murdock
Marcia Manon ...
Viola Hastings
J. Parks Jones ...
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 <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

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

The Old And The New

During his long silent and talkie career, Herr Cecil B. DeMille had a special fondness for comparing the old and the new, whether great events of humankind (like biblical stories) or local Amerikan happenings dealing with domestic problems of the new 20th society. Ancient or modern, these are universal issues.

"Old Wives For New" (1918) is typical of DeMille's interest in this theme of tension between the old and the new ; in this case, how old-fashioned conservative people try to adapt to the modern society with its rapidly changing shift from ancient values and habits. The film depicts the story of Herr Charles Murdock ( Herr Elliott Dexter ), a rich Amerikan businessman who has a miserable life that he hopes to change; it seems that he has power, money and anything a man could want… except love. He lives under the same luxurious roof with his wife, a careless woman who neglects her marriage duties and two youngsters who don't pay attention to their parents' problems… that is to say, a classical and typical marriage as in the 10's of the last century as the beginning of this new one.

Herr Murdock decides to take a holiday in order to get away from his wife for awhile by going hunting in the mountains with his son. He will meet accidentally and -with the help of a poor bear that died in said meeting- a young girl with whom he falls hopelessly in love. Happiness and hope will shine again in Herr Murdock's life but alas… the dream will fade when Frau Juliet ( Frau Florence Vidor ) discovers that her admirer is a married man.

"Old Wives For New" was one of those many Herr DeMille's silent films in which the Amerikan director depicted the Amerikan high society in modern times and all its complicated domestic problems. These films have a slight undercurrent of criticism of some of those novelties and social habits, intertwined always with sarcastic humour; a good combination to depict the classic war of the sexes including the eternal gap between different generations.

The most interesting aspect of this film is its modernity, a contemporary oeuvre made in 1918 that is perfectly valid today, absolute evidence that matrimony was a terrible invention…

The problems of the couple that brings the marriage to crisis include the monotony and the lack of illusion that a long period of living together produces. Of course, even Adam had problems with Eve in Paradise though he was spared the temptation of adultery. Puritanism complicates life for the female characters in the film; Herr Murdock's old-fashioned wife and Frau Juliet, the modern and independent new woman. Herr DeMille contrasts the two different ways of life and the collision between the old and the new society; however in the end both characters will take advantage of the possibilities modern society offers ( namely, divorce ) and end up happy with the man they liked most.

And now, if you'll allow me, I must temporarily take my leave because this German Count must try to be a modern aristocrat with firmly old-fashioned customs.

Herr Graf Ferdinand Von Galitzien http://ferdinandvongalitzien.blogspot.com/

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