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The Red Kimona (1925)

Unrated | | Drama, Romance | 16 November 1925 (USA)
A small town girl finds escape from her cruel home life in the arms of a handsome stranger. Soon she finds herself working as a prostitute in New Orleans, desperately clinging to the belief that he really loves her.

Directors:

, (uncredited)

Writers:

(by), (adaptation) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
Gabrielle
Nellie Bly Baker ...
Clara
Carl Miller ...
Howard Blaine
...
The Matron
Virginia Pearson ...
Mrs. Fontaine
...
Gabrielle's Father (as Tyrone Power)
Sheldon Lewis ...
District Attorney
...
Freddy - the Chauffeur (as Theodore Von Eltz)
...
The Housekeeper
...
Mr. Mack (as George Seigman)
...
The Inquisitive One
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Storyline

In THE RED KIMONA, Priscilla Bonner plays Darley, a small town girl who finds escape from her cruel home life in the arms of a handsome stranger. Soon she finds herself working as a prostitute in New Orleans, desperately clinging to the belief that he really loves her. When she discovers him buying an engagement ring for another woman, she shoots him. Her murder trial becomes a cause celebre and Gabrielle finds herself befriended by a rich society woman who professes deep concern for the unfortunate girl. Directed by Dorothy Reid. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Is It An Actual Menace To American Girls? (original poster) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

16 November 1925 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Red Kimona  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film was banned in the United Kingdom by the British Board of Film Censors in 1926. See more »

Goofs

Set in 1917, the fashions and cars are contemporary with 1925, when the film was made. See more »

Quotes

Title Card: Then years of bondage - sorrowful - sordid...
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User Reviews

 
Very well-made "problem picture"
6 July 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"The Red Kimona" is a film created to explore a social evil; it's one of a series of pictures made for that purpose in the early days of cinema. (See the work of director Lois Weber for additional examples.) It's not a movie for everybody--viewers looking for pure entertainment will prefer the slapstick comedies or adventure stories of the silent era--but for those interested in social history, and able to take the picture on its own old-fashioned terms, it's a very watchable if melodramatic film, with excellent production values and a fine cast. (In fact, I didn't mean to watch the whole thing in one sitting, but had trouble turning it off.)

I loved Priscilla Bonner in the main role (she's best known today for a supporting part in Clara Bow's "It," but also does one of the most heartfelt close-ups I've ever seen on film in Harry Langdon's "The Strong Man"). Her character changes convincingly as the story goes through several years--at one point Bonner seems to age before the audience's eyes as her character faces a tough choice. The camera-work and lighting are very striking, and certainly work to help Bonner's performance. A few sequences make good use of on-the-spot locations, like the Giant Dipper roller coaster at (I believe) the Venice, CA amusement pier, and the downtown streets of Los Angeles. The supporting players all look interesting and do well. I agreed with another reviewer that the costumes were a little confusing, since they appear to be from the early 1920's although the film is set in 1917. They don't all quite look like the fashions of 1925, when the film was released, but they don't seem totally pre-war either. (The title refers to a dressing gown the heroine wears.) But period costume authenticity was something that wouldn't really be established until later in film history.

Modern viewers may have difficulty with some details of the plot, as I did. Because of the censorship laws of the time, the filmmakers presumably weren't allowed to mention the word "prostitution," so it took me a little while to figure out exactly what was going on. But it eventually became clear.

The Kino DVD release has a pleasant, low-key piano soundtrack by Robert Israel that I really enjoyed.


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