A collection of extremely rare silent films from the 1910s that explore controversial social issues of their day with uncompromising detail. The set includes The Devil's Needle (1916), The Inside of the White Slave Traffic (1913), and Children of Eve (1915)
For Immediate Release
New York, NY - Kino Classics is proud to announce the Blu-ray and DVD release of Kino Classics Presents: The Devil's Needle and Other Tales of Vice And Redemption, a collection of extremely rare silent films from the 1910s that explore controversial social issues of their day with uncompromising detail. The set includes The Devil's Needle (1916), The Inside of the White Slave Traffic (1913), and Children of Eve (1915).
This Blu-ray and DVD collection of three films is set to street on July 3rd, with a SRP of $39.95 for the Blu-ray and $34.95 for the DVD. Each film is mastered in HD from archival 35mm elements preserved by the Library of Congress, and contain program notes written by noted film historian Richard Koszarski, Professor of English and Cinema Studies at Rutgers University, and editor-in-chief of Film History: an International Journal. Other special features include unedited outtake footage from Children of Eve (8 min.) and the raw surviving footage of The Inside of the White Slave Traffic (19 min.)
Both The Devil's Needle and Children of Eve are presented with musical accompaniment by Rodney Sauer, and The Inside of the White Slave Traffic features musical accompaniment by Ben Model.
In the 1910s, the still-young medium of film dealt with explosive social issues of the day, ranging from drug addiction to white slavery. This collection, culled from archival materials at the Library of Congress, presents three such films that depict aspects of WWI-era America with a surprising frankness that was rarely seen in the mainstream popular culture of the time.
By presenting these situations within the context of melodrama, filmmakers were able to circumvent public outcry and criticism, while also making their social and political views all the more compelling. These films demonstrated the cultural force of motion pictures as a persuasive tool.
Kino Classics is proud to resurrect these rare motion pictures - ravaged by time and all but forgotten - and provide a precious glimpse at a fascinating chapter in American film history.
Although in some cases the films survive in poor condition, Kino Classics believes that these historically important films be preserved and circulated in spite of their flaws, lest they be allowed to disappear entirely from the cultural radar.
The Devil's Needle (1916) stars silent screen goddess Norma Talmadge in an early role, as a morphine addict who plunges neurotic painter Tully Marshall into a whirlpool of moral deterioration. The film was supervised by D.W. Griffith and produced for the Fine Arts company, under the direction of Chester Withey, who'd learned the craft under Griffith's mentorship. According to Richard Koszarkski, in his program notes for this disc, the print of the film that survives today derives from 1923, reissued in the wake of the scandal resulting from the drug-related death of Hollywood star Wallace Reid just months earlier, which rocked the film industry.
The Inside of the White Slave Traffic (1913), directed by Frank Beal, looks at the methods employed by a group of pimps to enslave unsuspecting women into a life of prostitution, and even features a handy glossary of underworld slang. White slavery was an especially strong topic in 1913, the same year that Universal released Traffic In Souls, another landmark film dealing with the same issue. As Richard Koszarski mentions in his program notes for the film, production of The Inside of the White Slave Traffic was spearheaded by a federal investigator, Samuel H. London, who saw the film as a chance to raise awareness of the dangers of prostitution, and takes an especially bleak view in its depiction of the subject.
Children of Eve (1915) takes a melodramatic approach at depicting events inspired by the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911. The film calls for reforms to working conditions, and presents shocking depictions of life inside the factory. The film is also a rare chance to see the work of director John Collins, who worked for the Edison company and - as Richard Koszarski notes - was generally regarded as one of the great filmmakers of his time before his life was cut tragically short by the influenza epidemic in 1918.
Program notes by film historian Richard Koszarski
Unedited out-take footage from Children of Eve (8 Min.)
The raw surviving footage of The Inside of the White Slave Traffic (19 Min.)
The Devil's Needle
U.S. 1916 B&W 66 Min.
Directed by Chester Withey
With Norma Talmadge, Tully Marshall
Music by Rodney Sauer
The Inside of the White Slave Traffic
U.S. 1913 B&W 28 Min.
Directed by Frank Beal
With Ninita Bristow, Edwin Carewe
Music by Ben Model
Children of Eve
U.S. 1915 B&W 73 Min.
Directed by John H. Collins
With Viola Dana, Robert Conness, Nellie Grant
Music by Rodney Sauer
1.33:1 (Blu-ray 1920x1080p) 2.0 Stereo
June 12, 2012, 7:09 am - PR