Thursday, July 04, 2013

The Mormon

US 1912. D: Allan Dwan. C: J. Warren Kerrigan (il mormone), Pauline Bush (la ragazza). P: American Film Manufacturing Co (Flying A). Premiere: 25 gennaio 1912. 2K DCP. 15'. B&w. Da: Photoplay Productions. Scanned at 2K from a 35 mm nitrate print at L'Immagine Ritrovata laboratory. Accompagnamento al piano di Donald Sosin. Earphone commentary in Italian. Cinema Lumière - Sala Scorsese (Il Cinema Ritrovato, Bologna), 4 July 2013

Kevin Brownlow: "As far from the affectionate parody of The Book of Mormon as one could possibly imagine, this one-reeler depicts the harsh image that Americans had of these people at the turn of the last century. According to the "Motion  Picture  World", "In the early days of the West, it was customary for the Mormons to attack wagon trains, in order to secure new wives in the practice of their polygamous belief". (The Mormon church today says this is pure fiction!) "The young son of the Mormon elder was dearly beloved and faithful and was given the post of outlook, to locate wagon  trains,  ascertain  the  number  of men and women in them and assist in the attack. One morning he spies through his powerful telescope a lone wagon crossing the prairie. He hastens to a council of the elders and tells them of the approaching emigrants. He is sent to ascertain the number of men with the wagon and encounters the girl. It is a case of love at first sight. He gazes earnestly in the girl's eyes and sees an answering light in their depths. Then he realizes his mission...". Dwan's  film-making  skill in  this  hundred year old film is almost as good as a Biograph, and one can't say better than that. Pauline Bush would become Mrs. Allan Dwan in 1915. Kerrigan would play the lead in the first western epic, The Covered Wagon, in 1923." Kevin Brownlow

The Mormons vs. the Gentiles. "The man will be put to death. The women will be wives of the prophet", is the verdict after the young Mormon son has given his report. But there has been a case of love at first sight between the son and the Gentile girl, and the son turns to the side of the happy Gentile family in the wagon in the furious gunfight that is the climax of the story. Dwan's approach is assured in this 15-minute drama.

DCP quality ok from an used, partly battered print.

No comments: