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A Romance of the Cliff Dwellers (1911)

The story itself deals with the primitive instinct of mankind; to desire was to take at strength of arms, and thus one of the chiefs chose for his own a maiden fair who was loved in turn by... See full summary »

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The Maiden
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James Gordon ...
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The story itself deals with the primitive instinct of mankind; to desire was to take at strength of arms, and thus one of the chiefs chose for his own a maiden fair who was loved in turn by a young brave, and whose admiration she returned. But like unto the dark ages, whenever a man desired a maid he took her with or without her leave. Thus far did the chief go, but her lover decides to match his strength of arms for so fair a bride, and they fight upon the cliff's edge. But here the maid takes up the bow of fate and sends an arrow into the heart of her captor. Thus the two forest lovers are united, but a life for a life is the law of their race and the lover is brought to the council chamber and tried before his kinsmen. To shield the woman he loves he remains silent. He is tortured at the council fire, but still he will not speak until his groans of agony and despair reach the ears of the maiden, who, braving all the members of her race, confesses and is condemned to take the awful ... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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Drama | Romance | Short

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29 December 1911 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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The US stone age of film-making
18 June 2016 | by (France) – See all my reviews

The Edison company was struggling by this time to keep going. Porter had rather exhausted his energies and the frivolous Dawley did not really add much strength to the team. They made several films together but none of them very good. This one, however, is a complete load of tosh. The make-believe prehistoric world is totally unbelievable with a tribal people based clearly (and rather insultingly)on Amerindians but who, from their acting (or rather posturing), seem not to have got very far in the development of language while having somehow managed to fully master the art of building sophisticated, picturesque "ruins". The story is pathetically unoriginal and preposterously over-dramatised.

When one considers that this was the year in which The Inferno and the Odyssey appeared in Italy,in which in Denmark August Blom produced The Ballet Dancer and Urban Gad The Black Dream, in which Léonce Perret produced The Autumn of the Heart in France....this sort of film looks like puerile nonsense by comparison.

The US remained much more conservative than Europe in its film-making but,even there, this was the year when Humphreys produced a creditable short version of The Tale of Two Cities for Vitagraph, the most go-ahead of the US companies, and when at Biograph Griffith produced some of his best shorts to date (Enoch Arden, A Child of the Ghetto and The Last Drop of Water - The Musketeers of Pig Alley would follow in 1912), when Ince produced The Lieutenant's Last Fight (TheInvaders follows in 1912) and when the much-undervalued Selig produced The Maid at the Helm, then this is very poor stuff indeed by comparison.

As Sweden (Sjôstrôm), Russia (Bauer) and Germany (Hofer, Rye, Froehlich) also began to produce films of interest, It would be a few years yet before the US began to catch up (aided,it should be said, by the disaster of the Great War). As for Edison,he would find a rather more interesting line in a species of public-service film that produced some surprisingly good results(especially The Land before the Sunset 1912).


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