Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Hypocrites / Eleanor's Catch |
Actor: Courteney Foote
Directors: Lois Weber, Cleo Madison
Genres: Classics, Drama
A pastor's congregation condemns him when he creates a nude statue for the town.
A great tribute to Lois Weber, pioneer filmmaker
Barbara (Burkowsky) Underwood | Manly, NSW Australia | 05/20/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Hypocrites" stands out as the most special and unusual of the five films in this "First Ladies - Early Women Filmmakers" series by Kino Video, but it is just what I had expected of Lois Weber, who wrote and directed this `shocking and controversial film' in 1915. As America's first and most prolific female director of the silent era, Lois Weber should be better remembered than she is, but only a few of her films have survived, which makes "Hypocrites" a special treat. Weber was known for addressing all kinds of social and moral issues in her films, and the mere title of this film is already a clear indication of the soul-searching message she sought to convey to the public. But the message is veiled in symbolism and requires some deeper thought to fully appreciate and understand how hypocrisy is found in every aspect of our lives. One of the controversial issues in 1915 when this film was released was the nude young woman - albeit transparent and ghostly - who represents `the virgin truth' which most people find shocking because their mentality and way of life have become so far removed from plain, simple honesty. Dishonesty and corruption as found in politics, high society and in family life are laid bare in the Virgin Truth's mirror, and parallel stories depict other aspects, such as the Biblical account of taking the broad road which is easy, or the narrow way which is difficult.
It may come across as an overbearing lecture - just as the opening scenes which show a sincere minister giving a sermon on hypocrisy, only to find his congregation squirming, angry and uneasy, and even seeking to get rid of him afterwards. But as a rare glimpse into the mind and work of Lois Weber, as well as an historic statement about mentality and early cinema, "Hypocrites" is a valuable film. Unfortunately, some scenes especially at the beginning show some deterioration which can't be restored, but for the most part the picture is good and clear, and it is accompanied by a nice, suitable piano score. After 50 minutes of seeing how false and hypocritical the world is, the second 15-minute film on this DVD, "Eleanor's Catch" feels like a breeze, with a simple, short story and an unexpected twist at the end. A popular actress in the 1910s, Cleo Madison also directed many films, and in this 1916 short film, she made a statement for women's equality in the workforce, making this also a landmark film fit for the "First Ladies" series.
Two very good films directed by incredible artists
Matthew G. Sherwin | last seen screaming at Amazon customer service | 08/06/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This terrific DVD has two very interesting pictures on it: Hypocrites written and directed by Lois Weber and Eleanor's Catch directed by Lois Weber and Cleo Madison. The plots for both films move along rather well; I was certainly never bored. The quality of the print for Hypocrites was not too good especially in the first fifteen or so minutes of the film; I'm sorry to see that this is the restored version of the print! As for Eleanor's Catch, however, we get a film that has been preserved far better; and it has some great surprise action along the way that kept my interest going. The casting for both films was rather well done, too. This DVD is of particular import because the two films here were directed by women at a time when women lacked true power in Hollywood just as they lacked power in almost all other fields, too. Moreover, there are very few surviving films directed by Lois Weber and Cleo Madison despite the fact that they turned out quite a few films; their work was largely lost over time. What a shame!
In Hypocrites, this excellent film starts with a minister (Courtenay Foote) giving a sermon in Church about hypocrisy and the importance of Truth. Unfortunately, his message is largely lost on the churchgoers who are bored or even asleep during his sermon! After the service is over there's even talk amongst the members of getting rid of the minister by asking for his resignation. The minister is also upset; he wants his church members to truly value Truth--and it is from this point that the movie progresses to show that the path to Truth and morality is literally an uphill battle that may cost you your more worldly goods; but of course the moral of the story is that Truth is worth it. As you may know, there was a somewhat scandalous aspect to this film; Truth is portrayed by a naked woman. Thus we can see The Naked Truth!
The film then jumps backward in time to what looks like the medieval era; we see Gabriel the Ascetic (also played by Courtenay Foote) who painstakingly crafts a sculpture of pure Truth--in the form of a naked woman. Outraged, the crowd that has gathered to see the sculpture promptly murders Gabriel by stoning and spearing him; but this is not all. The final segment of the film holds much for us to see.
In addition, Eleanor's catch is also very well done. We meet Eleanor (director Cleo Madison) who lives in the slums with her mother (Lule Warrenton). Eleanor and her mother get by as they wash other people's clothes; so when the sharp, smooth talking "Flash" Darcy (William V. Mong) comes into her life Eleanor is thrilled to have a man who gives her things like fancy dresses and a night out on the town. Of course, this makes Eleanor's steady boyfriend "Red" (Edward Hearn) quite jealous and another issue arises when we meet Eleanor's poverty stricken sister Jennie (Margaret Whistler), who has been reduced to begging on the street for small change. As is the case with Hypocrites, the way the story plays out is fascinating.
There are no extra features; but these two films are really very good and they stand well on their own.
Overall, Hypocrites and Eleanor's Catch are strong movies from two female directors who were successful in Hollywood at a time when women were not exactly powerful. Lois Weber and Cleo Madison deserve to be remembered well for their outstanding work in motion pictures; and this DVD proves that they had genius. I highly recommend this DVD for silent movie fans; and people who enjoy movies directed by women during the silent film era will find this to be a solid addition to their DVD collections."