By John T. Soister
In the course of the Silent period, while such a lot motion pictures handled dramatic or comedic takes at the "boy meets woman, boy loses woman" subject, different movies dared to take on such issues as rejuvenation, revivication, mesmerism, the supernatural and the gruesome. A Daughter of the Gods (1916), The Phantom of the Opera (1925), The Magician (1926) and 7 Footprints to devil (1929) have been one of the strange and startling movies containing tale components that went a long way past the area of "highly unlikely." utilizing surviving documentation and their mixed services, the authors catalog and talk about those departures from the norm during this encyclopedic consultant to American horror, technological know-how fiction and myth within the years from 1913 via 1929.
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Perhaps it’s just as well; West had been studying the German Expressionist ﬁlms in the meantime, and The Bat is even more stylish than its predecessor. There’s still some reliance on master-shots that are taken from w-a-y too far away, but there’s more variety of camera angles and more use of the camera to tell the story rather than a reliance on title cards (The Bat has a refreshingly small number of intertitles). The Bat had a fairly convoluted route to the stage, never mind the screen. The serialization of Pittsburgh-based Mary Roberts Rinehart’s The Circular Staircase had started in the November 1907 issue of All Story Magazine and was published in book form the following year.
After Avenging Conscience, Lewis reappeared for Grifﬁth in The Birth of a Nation, Intolerance, The Mother and the Law (1919) and Abraham Lincoln. His genre credits include The Flying Torpedo (1916), Macbeth (1916), Jack and the Beanstalk (1917), Chaney and Browning’s Outside the Law (1920), The Conquering Power (1921), Dante’s Inferno (1924) and Maid of Salem (1937). The cast member with the longest career is Mae Marsh (1895 –1968) who joined Grifﬁth’s company in 1912 and later became a member of John Ford’s stock company; her last role was in his Cheyenne Autumn (1964).
His ﬁnal ﬁlm project was also in the fantastic vein. After almost a decade of enforced retirement, he was announced as the director for an ambitious picture set in prehistoric times by producer, Hal Roach. It was not to be. C. opened in 1940, Grifﬁth’s name was nowhere to be seen on the credits. W Grifﬁth died in his rooms at Hollywood’s Knickerbocker Hotel in 1948. Henry B. Walthall (1878 –1936) was on the upward arc of his career when he made The Avenging Conscience. His best remembered role is that of the Little Colonel in Birth of a Nation, but he would not work again for Grifﬁth until the director’s ﬁrst sound ﬁlm, the stodgy Abraham Lincoln (1930).
American Silent Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy Feature Films, 1913-1929 by John T. Soister