|In a Roman Garden (1913). Jeanie Macpherson (Lygia), Edwin August (Marius). Please double click on the image to enlarge it maximally.|
Donald MacDonald, US 1913
Print source: Museum of Modern Art, New York
Running time: 12 minutes
About the print: This copy has 38 splices. As customary for films of the early era, each projection print was assembled by splicing together different shots. Shrinkage: 0.95%
About the film: Produced by the Powers Motion Picture Company in New York, this costume drama of religious subject is the earliest film shown so far at the Nitrate Picture Show.
Piano accompaniment by Philip C. Carli.
The Nitrate Picture Show, George Eastman Museum, Dryden Theatre, 5 May 2017
AA: More credits from the IMdB: written by Edwin August, starring Edwin August (Marius, the Roman), Jeanie Macpherson (Lygia, the Christian Girl).
Jeanie Macpherson was a great film pioneer, one of the most remarkable women in the film industry, an early member in the D. W. Griffith team, a daring director in her own right, and best known as Cecil B. DeMille's key partner during four decades, from The Cheat to Unconquered.
The story of In a Roman Garden is openly inspired by Quo Vadis? by Henryk Sienkiewicz. Even the woman's name is almost identical: Lygia in this film, Lycia in the novel. The Roman patrician, "Marius the Epicurean" feels an attraction to Lygia, but she rejects him. Marius sees her praying in the garden and notices her cross. "The Influence of the Cross". When two other Romans try to have their way with Lygia, Marius drives them away. "The Convert". Deeply shaken, Marius grasps a cross.
It was amazing to view this 104 years old nitrate print.
The print has been in heavy use, and there are scratches in it. There are green tints (see image above) and blue tonings.