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The Professor dispenses the wisdom of the ages and does not make a living wage. The sons of the rich and powerful are students lacking any motivation. The next door neighbor of the Professor, businessman Olsen, has money and lots of food, while the Griggs have hardly any. Both Peter Olsen and Reverend Gates are taken by the beauty of young Amelia Griggs. When rich son Phil West falls for Amelia Griggs and befriends the poor Reverend Gates, he finally sees the difference in his life and theirs and tries to do something to change that. Written by
Tony Fontana <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Pretty librarian Claire Windsor (as Amelia Griggs) begins to attract eligible men; they include the boy next door, their community's poor young minister, and wealthy student Louis Calhern (as Phil West). Since Ms. Windsor's parents are poverty-stricken, mother Margaret McWade (acting up a storm) would like her to marry Mr. Calhern. He is a student of Windsor's poorly-paid professor father Philip Hubbard. When Windsor becomes ill, the doctor orders Ms. McWade to provide her daughter with nourishing food - but the family doesn't even have enough money to make house payments, or feed itself and the family cats. Learning how the other half lives, Windsor's suitors come to her rescue
and teach viewers about humanity...
"Men are only boys grown tall," is our introduction. Guessing writer/director Lois Weber was trumpeting a call for charitable fairness, and higher pay for clergy and college professors; this is accomplished by the end of the narrative, as society's "boys" seem to have a better recognition of their responsibility. Within its narrative, "The Blot" hearkens an uneven distribution of income. Presently, much ado is made of Ms. Weber's gender. All sorts of readings are possible, most unsatisfying...
My enjoyment of the film is in its depiction of class - specifically the conflicts between "old money" (the extravagant West family), "new money" (the neighboring Olsen family), and "no money" (the lowly Griggs family). The real "class warfare" is between the lower classes, of course. Like today, the poor don't really resent the upper class, who live a lifestyle they do not even fully understand; those of middle and lower classes more often resent and envy each other, which is exactly what many (not all) of the super-rich want. Weber may not make her point, but she makes another one. The symbolism, much involving shoes, is strong. The setting is superb; it isn't more than you can see elsewhere, but it is conveyed exceptionally here.
******* The Blot (8/19/21) Lois Weber ~ Claire Windsor, Louis Calhern, Margaret McWade, Philip Hubbard
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