Manslaughter (1922 film)


Manslaughter (1922 film)
Manslaughter
Directed by Cecil B. DeMille
Produced by Cecil B. DeMille
Jesse L. Lasky
Written by Jeanie MacPherson
Alice Duer Miller
Starring Leatrice Joy
Cinematography L. Guy Wilky
Alvin Wyckoff
Editing by Anne Bauchens
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release date(s) 24 September 1922
Running time 100 minutes
Country United States
Language Silent
English intertitles
Budget $385,000 [1]

Manslaughter is a 1922 silent drama film directed by Cecil B. DeMille and starring Thomas Meighan, Leatrice Joy and Lois Wilson.

Contents

Plot summary

A wild, wealthy woman is brought to heel by a sermonizing district attorney after she accidentally hits and kills a motorcycle cop.

Cast

Production

To get a better understanding of the experience of a woman in prison, screenwriter Jeannie MacPherson arranged to 'steal' a fur piece from a friend, and to be arrested for the theft. MacPherson was 'apprehended' in Detroit and spent three days in prison before the hoax was revealed.[2]

According to Leatrice Joy, the filming of the car chase scene was extremely nerve-wrecking because she herself had to drive the car, which had been fitted with a platform to support two cameramen and the director, plus equipment. Their safety depended entirely upon her skills as a motorist.[3] Joy did most of her own driving, though in some shots the car was driven by stunt double Leo Nomis.[4] During the shooting of a prison sequence, Joy burned her hand accidentally with soup in a prop cauldron; assistant director Cullen Tate had neglected to inform her that the soup was scalding hot.[3]

Reaction

Manslaughter is thought of by historians as one of De Mille's lesser efforts as a director. Historian Kevin Brownlow notes that Joy and Wilson "both give far better performances than the film deserves."[5] "It is hard to believe that such a crude and unsubtle film could come from a veteran like De Mille," said a 1963 Theodore Huff Society program note for the film, "harder still to believe that this came from the same year that Orphans of the Storm, Down to the Sea in Ships", and Foolish Wives. The amateurish and crudely faked chase scenes that start the film are of less technical slickness than Sennett had been getting ten years earlier. Manslaughter is exactly the kind of picture that the unknowing regard as typical of the silent film - overwrought, pantomimically acted, written in the manner of a Victorian melodrama, the kind of film that invites laughter at it rather than with it."[5]

When a print was screened by William K. Everson for Joy's daughters birthday, the star of the film attended and saw it for the first time in forty years. According to Kevin Brownlow, "Miss Joy thought it hilarious."[5]

References

  1. ^ "Progressive Silent Film List: Manslaughter". Silent Era. http://www.silentera.com/PSFL/data/M/Manslaughter1922.html. Retrieved 2008-05-02. 
  2. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0013372/trivia
  3. ^ a b Brownlow, K.; The parade's gone by...; University of California Press, 1976; p. 185
  4. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0013372/fullcredits#cast
  5. ^ a b c Brownlow, K.; The parade's gone by...; University of California Press, 1976; p. 184

External links


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