Century Film Project

Celebrating the movies our ancestors loved

Tag: Lucius Henderson

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1912)

This one-reel version of the oft-filmed story from Thanhouser represents an early effort to bring horror and special effects to the service of a sophisticated narrative, but uncertain history swirls around the movie nonetheless. Florence LaBadie and James Cruze star in this version of a man who separates the good and evil of his own nature with tragic results.

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde MPWThe movie opens with a shot of what seems to be a medical journal, citing a doctor who claims that drugs can be used to “separate man into two beings,” one good and the other evil. Then an intertitle tells us that Dr. Jekyll plans to confirm this before we’ve been introduced to any of the characters. Finally, we see Jekyll at work in his laboratory, mixing chemicals. When he’s finished, he tries the brew and (no surprise to us) a dissolve replaces the kindly old doctor with a monstrous brute. Hyde, however, doesn’t seem to want to hang around and celebrate his success. He just takes a drink from another beaker and turns back into Jekyll. The next intertitle sets up his betrothal to Florence LaBadie, “the minister’s daughter,” and, indeed, we see the two of them out for a stroll on a lovely Spring day. Read the rest of this entry »

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Salomy Jane (1914)

Salomy Jane-1914

This early Western was shot around the Bay Area and in the Redwood Forest, and makes good use of the landscape as an important feature of its story-telling. It takes place in the town of “Hangtown,” a city with few women, and the kind of saloon where everyone ducks when someone new comes in the door, in case shooting is about to break out. When and old man and his young daughter (Beatriz Michelena, a bit more on her in a moment) move to town, everyone takes an immediate interest – apparently the old man is from a family in Kentucky that had a feud with one of the local families, and the daughter is, well, a not-unattractive woman in a town full of men. Of course, a heroic man rescues her from a villainous one. The movie was meant as a breakout vehicle for Michelena, who had been acting and singing on stage since she was 11 and was married to local car dealer George Middleton, who promoted her as the next big thing. She never was that big, but she does go down in history as the first Latina movie star, and apparently this is the only surviving complete film of hers today. In this movie, they had her wear a large wig that seems to have been borrowed from Mary Pickford, and, to my mind, doesn’t work for her facial features.

Director: William Nigh & Lucius Henderson

Camera: Arthur Caldwell, Arthur Powellson, Hal Mohr

Starring: Beatriz Michelena, House Peters, William Pike

Run Time: 87 Min

I have been unable to find this for free online, please comment if you can find it.