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An Awful Moment (1908)

As a judge passes sentence on a man, a gypsy woman in the audience vehemently protests, and she has to be physically removed from the courtroom. Soon afterwards, the judge returns home, and... See full summary »


D.W. Griffith


D.W. Griffith


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Credited cast:
George Gebhardt George Gebhardt ... Matteo Rettazzi / Policeman
Marion Leonard ... Fiammetta - Matteo's Wife
Harry Solter Harry Solter ... Judge Mowbray
Florence Lawrence ... Mrs. Mowbray
Gladys Egan ... The Mowbrays' Daughter
Linda Arvidson ... The Maid
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Florence Barker
Dorothy Bernard
Kate Bruce
Charles Gorman Charles Gorman
Gertrude Robinson ... Woman in Court
Mack Sennett ... Policeman / Man in Court
Dorothy West


As a judge passes sentence on a man, a gypsy woman in the audience vehemently protests, and she has to be physically removed from the courtroom. Soon afterwards, the judge returns home, and enjoys some time with his wife and child. But all the while, the gypsy woman is watching him closely, and is plotting a cruel revenge. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

gypsy | melodrama | See All (2) »


Drama | Short

User Reviews

It wasn't just a film filled with the director's prejudices, but it's a pretty lousy film--even by 1908 standards
30 January 2015 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

While D.W. Griffith might have been a great director, he wasn't much of a man. I say this because he often played to the prejudices of his audiences. Of course, I could be talking about his horrid depiction of black people--such as in his racist film "Birth of a Nation". But black people weren't the only folks Griffith seemed to hate. Here in "An Awful Moment" he once again attacks Gypsies--and it's probably the third film of his that I've seen this group of people portrayed as sub-humans. However, if you completely ignore his nasty feelings towards the Gypsies, you're still left with a film that is terrible--even by the standards of the day.

The film begins in a courtroom. It's VERY difficult to tell exactly what's happening, but a Gypsy who is HORRIBLY over-acting is ordered out of the court. On his way home, this same Gypsy woman follows him. She then climbs into the judge's apartment and waits to kill him. The judge rather easily subdues her and ties her up...then just leaves the Gypsy to untie herself and then attack the judge's wife in the next room and gas her--knocking her out almost instantly. But, instead of just killing her, she rigs up a gun that just happens to be sitting there to shoot the wife when someone opens the door (though the door opened the wrong direction for this). When their young child (about 3 or 4) wakes up (she was sleeping only a few feet from this shotgun) and sees mom trussed up and with a gun in her face, she does what any clear-thinking child would do--she ignores her mother and begins looking at presents under their Christmas tree. Soon, however, the father arrives back with the police and they catch the sub-human (and stupid) Gypsy and the day is saved.

Too many slow moving scenes, too much horrible over-acting and too many illogical moments make this one tough film to watch. But, if you are a die-hard Gypsy-hater (such as a Nazi), you might enjoy this little pile of dog poo from Mr. Griffith. Otherwise, stay clear and do something better....and that would not be a hard thing to do!

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None | English

Release Date:

18 December 1908 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ужасный момент See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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