7 user 7 critic

The Salvation Hunters (1925)

A cowardly young man, a bitter young woman and a helpless child live on the docks, spend their days full of ennui watching a dredge dig the same hole day in and day out, chased around by ... See full summary »


Learn more

More Like This 

Underworld (1927)
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

Boisterous gangster kingpin Bull Weed rehabilitates his former lawyer from his alcoholic haze, but complications arise when he falls for Weed's girlfriend.

Directors: Josef von Sternberg, Arthur Rosson
Stars: George Bancroft, Clive Brook, Evelyn Brent
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

A blue-collar worker on New York's depressed waterfront finds his life changed after he saves a woman attempting suicide.

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: George Bancroft, Betty Compson, Olga Baclanova
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Joan and Magdalen are the daughters of a fisherman. Magdalen leaves her fiancé, Peter, to run off to the big city. Joan and Peter marry. Magdalen's return years later causes trouble for the... See full summary »

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Edna Purviance, Raymond Bloomer, Charles K. French
Drama | History | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A former Imperial Russian general and cousin of the Czar ends up in Hollywood as an extra in a movie directed by a former revolutionary.

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Emil Jannings, Evelyn Brent, William Powell
Thunderbolt (1929)
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A criminal known as Thunderbolt is imprisoned and facing execution. Into the next cell is placed Bob Moran, an innocent man who has been framed and who is in love with Thunderbolt's girl. ... See full summary »

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: George Bancroft, Fay Wray, Richard Arlen
The Dragnet (1928)
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: George Bancroft, Evelyn Brent, William Powell
Romance | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
Directors: Phil Rosen, Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Conrad Nagel, Renée Adorée, Paulette Duval
Crime | Drama | Film-Noir
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

In Shanghai, dragon-lady 'Mother' Gin Sling operates a gambling house for wealthy patrons but she clashes with influential land developer Sir Guy Charteris who wants to put her out-of-business.

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Gene Tierney, Walter Huston, Victor Mature
Blonde Venus (1932)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A cabaret singer takes up with a millionaire to pay for her gravely ill husband's operation.

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Marlene Dietrich, Cary Grant, Herbert Marshall
Action | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A returning Union Officer discovers that his home has been overrun by Mexican bandits, and infiltrates the gang to restore order and determine if his wife has been faithful to him.

Director: Duccio Tessari
Stars: Giuliano Gemma, Fernando Sancho, Lorella De Luca
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Vienna in the biggest depression, directly after WW1. In a slum, Lila Leid, the wife of lawyer Leid is murdered, Egon, secretary of one of Leid's clients is arrested. He was with her, and ... See full summary »

Director: Georg Wilhelm Pabst
Stars: Asta Nielsen, Greta Garbo, Ágnes Eszterházy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

In late 19th century Vienna, Lena Smith, a naive peasant girl from Hungary, has a child by a corrupt young cavalry officer, and goes to work his house as a servant, hiding the truth from ... See full summary »

Director: Josef von Sternberg
Stars: Esther Ralston, James Hall, Gustav von Seyffertitz


Cast overview:
George K. Arthur ... The Boy
Georgia Hale ... The Girl
Bruce Guerin Bruce Guerin ... The Child
Otto Matieson ... The Man
Nellie Bly Baker Nellie Bly Baker ... The Woman
Olaf Hytten Olaf Hytten ... The Brute
Stuart Holmes ... The Gentleman


A cowardly young man, a bitter young woman and a helpless child live on the docks, spend their days full of ennui watching a dredge dig the same hole day in and day out, chased around by the dredge workers. One day they up and decide to leave for the city together, after seeing a black cat. Written by Ulf Kjell Gür

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

15 February 1925 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cacciatori di salvezza See more »


Box Office


$20,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Academy Photoplays See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Although it cost only $5000 to make, half coming from a silent partner, von Sternberg bought out his partner, giving him 100% profit on his 50% investment and sold 50% of the rights of "The Salvation Hunters" to Joseph M. Schenck of United Artists for $20,000. See more »


Edited into Josef von Sternberg, Salvation Hunter (2016) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Pretentious silent drama

The UCLA archives have a restored print of this film; they seem to have put more effort into it than the original director did.

Josef von Sternberg was an extremely pretentious man (the "von" was an affectation, and in his autobiography he lied about his reasons for using it), but he was also an exceedingly talented director. "The Salvation Hunters" was his directorial debut, filmed on a tiny budget as a showcase for his pictorial talents. Shortly after the formation of United Artists, three of its shareholders - Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford - attended a screening of "The Salvation Hunters" and were impressed enough to bankroll this film for general release. This was during the period when Gilbert Seldes and other highbrow critics were trumpeting Chaplin as an intellectual, so (purely on Chaplin's endorsement) "The Salvation Hunters" got a lot of highbrow attention which it didn't deserve. After the film flopped, Chaplin claimed that he had deliberately praised a bad movie just to fool all the critics. Sure, Charlie.

"The Salvation Hunters" is a SLOW film, very depressing, about a bunch of people who live in shanties in the California mud flats and have almost nothing to eat. There are many, many, MANY shots of a steam-dredger, scooping up gollops of mud, and moving them from one place to another. This is meant to be deeply symbolic of life's utter hopelessness, boo-hoo. In the movie's intertitles, all the characters in this melodrama are given allegorical names: The Boy, The Girl, The Child, The Brute. This practice was fairly common in silent days, but in "The Salvation Hunters" it's worse than usual. Eventually the Boy has to stand up to the Brute. Guess who wins.

George K. Arthur gives a fairish performance as the Boy. The Scottish-born Arthur later attained a measure of stardom in the late silent-film era, notably as one half of a comedy team opposite Karl Dane. When talkies arrived, George K. Arthur's Aberdonian accent limited his range of roles, and he moved into subsidiary parts and production work.

The depiction of poverty in "The Salvation Hunters" is so inept as to be laughable. In one scene, three people attempt to make a dinner out of one stick of chewing-gum! This is the sort of thing that Chaplin lampooned so well in "The Gold Rush". Both of these films have the same leading lady: Georgia Hale. She gives an inert performance in "The Salvation Hunters", but her good looks probably inspired Chaplin to cast her in "The Gold Rush", in which she gave a much better performance. It doesn't help "The Salvation Hunters" that all of the actors look too well-fed to be playing people on the brink of starvation. Otto Matieson acts like a walking statue: maybe he thought he was performing in a "Golem" movie.

Some of the frame compositions in "The Salvation Hunters" are excellent, and the film has some interest as early evidence of von Sternberg's great talent. But this movie is slow, slow, SLOW. I could chop 25 minutes out of this film without losing any of the story. I'll rate 2 points out of 10 for "The Salvation Hunters", mostly for Arthur's performance which shows some evidence of his acting ability.

17 of 47 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 7 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed