The Painted Lady - 1912

This will be where we leave our silent photoplay reviews! Beware of the Spoiler Monster!
Post Reply
User avatar
Kitty
Posts: 3440
Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2017 8:57 pm

The Painted Lady - 1912

Post by Kitty » Tue Feb 28, 2017 2:16 pm

The Painted Lady – 1912
Blanche Sweet stars in this incredibly sad tale produced by Biograph. A girl is told by her sister that she should wear makeup because that is what the men like. The girl resists the temptation, knowing that it is not the makeup that is needed to win a man. Still, she is much less popular than her sister who wears makeup. One day at an ice cream festival, (in which, by the way, Lillian Gish is an extra), her sister is getting all the attention, and Blanche is left out. She takes refuge behind some trees on a bench. This is where she meets her first boyfriend. All seems very well, with the girl resisting temptation to powder her face, until she decides to confide in her boyfriend some information about her father’s business affairs.
“Uh, Oh!” is right, because what happens next? The boyfriend promptly puts on a hat and handkerchief to cover his face so that he can crawl into the window of her father’s office to rob him. The girl comes downstairs, and hearing a noise in her father’s office, she peeks in to see the burglar, unknowing that it is her beloved boyfriend. She hurries to save the house and grabs a gun. When she enters the office, not so discreetly, might I add, for the burglar sees her right away, and in a slow dramatic scene, he tries to wrestle the gun from her hand. In doing so, the gun goes off, hitting him. This actor is not great in the dramatic department, because he does one of those exaggerated staggering-across-the-stage type moves then falls dead on a chair. His chest is also heaving, indicating to the viewer that he is not an athletic man, and not dead at all, as supposed.
The girl goes up to him and has a better look. Taking off the hat and handkerchief she finally realizes that this was her boyfriend! Betrayed and shattered, the girl dresses in black, and has a nervous breakdown. She visits the place where she first met her beau, and believes that she is talking and seeing him in a touching scene, when in reality she is just talking to the air. It really makes you feel for the poor girl. After this, she goes back to the house, finally decides to powder her face, and comes back again, where she ‘meets’ him for the last time. Her father comes out just in time to catch her when she faints. When her mother runs down the steps and joins them, they both realize she has died of heartbreak.
This really was an incredible short. At only 12 minutes long, it told a beautiful, sad story of a lonely girl. This was my first glimpse of anything Blanche Sweet, and I think she was very good in it. I love how the shots of her face are clear. This was mostly well acted, well directed (by the great D.W. Griffith) and all around a very good drama.
Rating 7/10
You trying to tell me you didn't hear that shriek? That was something trying to get out of its premature grave, and I don't want to be here when it does. - Phantom of the Paradise (1974)

User avatar
donnie
Posts: 2672
Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2017 8:28 am

Re: The Painted Lady - 1912

Post by donnie » Tue Feb 28, 2017 4:23 pm

Good comments. This one is a masterpiece—one of my favorite Biographs, and one of my favorite Blanche Sweet performances.The ending is very affecting, even if it strains credulity a little, and makes a poetic ending.

User avatar
Kitty
Posts: 3440
Joined: Sat Feb 25, 2017 8:57 pm

Re: The Painted Lady - 1912

Post by Kitty » Tue Feb 28, 2017 4:38 pm

Thanks for your comment! About the ending, I think they did that because it was an unwritten rule that there would be no suicide in a film. It just wasn't done. Motion Picture Story commented on that attribute in films in general. A photoplay did not suggest anything that could be questionable. In the July 1912 edition of Motion Picture Story Magazine, there is an article called Board of Censors. It says "Arson, poison, and suicide are three things that are universally condemned, altho in classics like Shakespeare and the Bible they are reluctantly allowed to pass." I believe that if it was accepted, they would have made the scene a suicide.
You trying to tell me you didn't hear that shriek? That was something trying to get out of its premature grave, and I don't want to be here when it does. - Phantom of the Paradise (1974)

User avatar
donnie
Posts: 2672
Joined: Sun Feb 26, 2017 8:28 am

Re: The Painted Lady - 1912

Post by donnie » Wed Mar 01, 2017 3:19 pm

That's an interesting insight! Had never thought about that—I think you're right.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest