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Regeneration (1915)

A boy surrounded by violence grows up to become an infamous gangster.

Director:

(as R.A. Walsh)

Writers:

(book) (as Owen Kildare), (adapted from the book: "My Mamie Rose") (as R.A. Walsh) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
John McCann ... Owen - Age Ten
... Jim Conway (as James Marcus)
Maggie Weston ... Maggie Conway
... Owen - Age Seventeen (as H. McCoy)
... Owen - Age Twenty-Five
William Sheer ... Skinny - One of the Gang
... District Attorney Ames
... Marie Deering
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Storyline

At 10 years old, Owens becomes a ragged orphan when his sainted mother dies. The Conways, who are next door neighbors, take Owen in, but the constant drinking by Jim soon puts Owen on the street. By 17, Owen learns that might is right. By 25, Owen is the leader of his own gang who spend most of their time gambling and drinking. But Marie comes into the gangster area of town and everything changes for Owen as he falls for Marie. But he cannot tell her so, so he comes to her settlement to find education and inspiration. But soon, his old way of life will rise to confront him again. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

WILLIAM FOX Presents "THE REGENERATION" (title on original-release poster)


Certificate:

Passed
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

13 September 1915 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Regeneration  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The play, "The Regeneration" by Owen Frawley Kildare and Walter C. Hackett, opened in New York on 1 September 1908 and ran for 39 performances. In the cast were Janet Beecher and Helen Ware. See more »

Crazy Credits

There is no cast list during the opening credits or at the end. Actors, however, are credited by intertitles as they appear within the movie, and that is used for the IMDb cast ordering. Actors never mentioned are marked uncredited. See more »

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User Reviews

 
A gem, almost gone forever
8 January 2009 | by See all my reviews

Rather than repeat what others have written, I'd like to comment on how this film managed to get into circulation.

The only known print of the film was found in the basement of a building in Montana in 1976. Preserved (and not too soon given the deterioration seen in the middle of the film), it was part of a series of films shown during the New York Film Festival representing titles which had recently (1978) been saved. I remember seeing all of them; they included Lillom (recently issued on DVD in the Murnau/Borzage box and worth seeing), and The Letter (with Jeanne Eagles, which blew everyone away).

It is a miracle that films still turn up in such a manner even this late in the game. Most films from this time period have long ago turned into flammable dust (they started to deteriorate as early as the thirties), and it is particularly fortunate that "Regeneration" is now among the living. Despite its crudities, it feels like a documentary of the seedier elements of New York, and it still works its magic; it has matured very well. Given that we can see how the streets of New York really looked almost 100 years ago, the film may play better than it did back then. Most of the people in this film are not actors, they are real people, and that is what we reacted to when we saw this back in the seventies.

Additionally, the film is a real window into the transitional period when the one-reeler had turned into a longer, more ambitious feature. As a first feature for Walsh, this film is really extraordinary when we consider that the tools of film-making were still crude (the comments on the editing of the film are correct. However, the abruptness plays better on the big screen). Even more, the film also reminds us that the numerous features made between 1914 and 1920 included some real gems that are gone forever, and cannot be re-evaluated. How many really good actors and directors are known in name only because their work has disappeared?

I consider this one of the finest examples of an early silent feature, and one of the landmark films of the silent era. It is an illustration of how the director of that time found his or her way, made mistakes and had chances to improve. It shows how filmmakers were taking the vocabulary used by Griffith and some European filmmakers to expand the techniques of storytelling to hold an audience's interest for an hour's worth of entertainment.

A must-see if you are interested in silent films.


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