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F. Richard Jones
High school students led by the Girl and Boy turn from Christianity toward secret atheistic meetings. When a girl is accidentally killed by a stairway collapse, the Girl and Boy go to reform school where they are treated brutally. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
Then 17-year-old Sylvia Sidney was considered for the title role. A screen test was made in Chicago, where Sidney was appearing in the play "Crime" by A.H. Woods. The test consisted of the last act of the play and was directed by D.W. Griffith. DeMille viewed the test and decided he was not interested in her. See more »
Judy, daughter of Atheism... Bob, son of Gospel... Intolerance versus Intolerance.
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Early DeMille morality tale...not bad at all with climactic fire sequence...
During the awkward transitional stage from silents to talkies, Cecil B. DeMille made this 1929 story about THE GODLESS GIRL. It's given a very heavy-handed treatment and the Christian values vs. Atheism may seem a bit jarring to modern audiences.
LINA BASQUETTE has the title role, a movie originally shot as a silent film but with some sound added before the film was released. It's an intimate drama, a crime story involving high school students, not the usual epic kind of film DeMille is famous for except for a climactic fire sequence.
A riot breaks out at high school when someone circulates pamphlets on Atheism and meets a lot of resistance from a religious group. Three of the students end up in a reformatory when one of the girls among the students dies when a stair railing collapses.
Treatment there seems to be worse than the average prison. Things go from bad to worse when brutal guard NOAH BEERY gets his hands on two of the male students disobeying rules. DeMille seems to relish showing the brutal treatment. The hero of the tale, TOM KEENE, devises an escape plan so he and Lina can escape the torments of the so-called reform school.
Suspense builds for the escape plan and there's a quieter interlude where the boy and girl with different beliefs fall in love. But then the action picks up again after the two are found by the authorities and returned to their prison. While she's in solitary, an accidental fire sets the stage for the very suspenseful conclusion wherein the hero has to come to her rescue.
Summing up: One of the better silent films, it holds the interest throughout and builds to a realistic fire sequence that director DeMille milks for all it's worth.
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