film: DeMille: The Cheat (1915)

I would expect that my introduction to a director whose name I’ve so long known I’d be far more impressed. Or impressed at all. As it is, I have almost no recollection of this film at all. And I’m pretty sure that I watched it just this morning. Now, let’s see–aside from DeMille, it was significant because it actually had an Asian man as its villain. And further, even without speech the man played the role of the brilliant-and-kindly-seducer-turned-wicked-rapist very well. And when he brands his victim I was just thankful that the villain, who could have been anybody, was not made Jewish, despite a heavy Shylockian quality. What is clear, though, is that silent films will necessarily fail when trying to portray an exhilarating courtroom drama–but, despite this, the protagonist gives a stellar performance during the bit where she rips her shirt off. If the shirt stayed on, I’m not sure how good the performance would be, but it was enough today. Though very boring.

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