Century Film Project

Celebrating the movies our ancestors loved

Tag: Hobart Bosworth

The Little American (1917)

The star power of Mary Pickford is teamed with the directing power of Cecil B. DeMille to produce a war propaganda picture just as the United States prepares to send its first troops to France to fight in World War One. The movie pulls no punches in showing audiences what the USA will be fighting for, but it has a reputation for being clumsy and jingoistic today.

Mary is the titular representative of the United States, Angela Moore, living a privileged and sheltered life as a socialite on a large estate. She has two suitors: the French Count Jules de Destin (Raymond Hatton) and Karl von Austreim (Jack Holt), a German. As the movie opens, it is July 4, 1914 (which just happens to be Angela’s birthday), and she receives each of them in turn. She seems to prefer Karl, although he insists on teaching her little brother how to goose step. Karl is interrupted as he proposes by an urgent secret message calling him back to serve in the German military, and he honorably releases her from any obligations before he goes. When the Count informs her about the outbreak of war, her first though is of Karl and whether he may have been hurt in the fighting. She sends letters to Karl but hears nothing. Read the rest of this entry »

Joan the Woman (1916)

Cecil B. DeMille enters the arena of the historical epic with this depiction of France’s most famous saint, starring Geraldine Farrar, who had been very successful in “Carmen” the previous year. While a bit rough in places, it is likely to be a major contender in this year’s Century Awards.

joan_the_womanThis is one of those silent movies that, unfortunately, begins with several minutes of intertitles explaining the plot. Most silent directors did their best to avoid this, but DeMille may have felt that because he was dealing with such a “serious” subject, his audiences would need a little priming to get into the mood. Anyway, after five minutes of introductory reading, we finally get to an unnecessary wraparound story. We begin in the trenches in France in 1916, where a young English soldier is digging in the dirt wall for some reason, and pulls out a sword, apparently buried there since the fifteenth century. He speculates that some “queer bloke” must have wielded it, and then responds to a call for volunteers from an officer. The officer is looking for someone to carry a very unwieldy bomb across no-man’s-land to destroy an enemy trench. He tells the soldier to think about it until midnight before making a decision whether to take on the suicide mission. Once back in his barracks, the soldier sees a vision of Joan of Arc and the real movie finally begins!

joan-the-woman2 Read the rest of this entry »

Sergeant, the (1910)

Sergeant 1910

This one-reeler was apparently shot partly in Yosemite Park and partly along the Willamette River in Oregon, though it’s hard to say which parts are which (it’s been speculated that the Merced would have been too cold to swim in, so those parts might be Willamette, but I wouldn’t be certain of it). It tells the story of a romance between a non-commissioned officer and the inevitable colonel’s daughter, and its interruption by an “Indian renegade” who steals their horses and riles up the local tribe against the intruders. It was shot by John Dored, a Latvian cinematographer who went on to become a famous newsreel cameraman. There are a surprising number of pans for a narrative film of the period, either because Dored was an innovator or because the landscape inspired a more panoramic approach. The director, Frank Boggs, is credited with being the first producer of motion pictures to establish a studio in Los Angeles (Selig Polyscope) and was later shot by a disgruntled studio employee. The on-camera action is almost as thrilling as the story of the filmmakers, though, with various shootouts and a daring swim through icy-cold (or not) rapids to try to rescue the girl. The hero of the movie, Hobart Bosworth, was one of the first silent actors to do stuntwork and later claimed to have “fallen down most of” the West.

Director: Frank Boggs

Camera: John Dored

Starring: Hobart Bosworth, Iva Shepard, Tom Santschi, Frank Clark

Run Time: 16 Min

You can watch clips from it for free: here. I have been unable to locate the entire film online, please comment if you know where to find it.