Treasures III: Social Issues in American Film, 1900-1934
Overview | Contents | Contributors | Brochure (PDF) | Clips
Program 1: The City Reformed
- The Black Hand (1906, 11 min.), earliest surviving Mafia film.
- How They Rob Men in Chicago (1900, 25 sec.), police corruption Chicago-style.
- The Voice of the Violin (1909, 16 min.), a terrorist plot is foiled by the power of music.
- The Usurer's Grip (1912, 15 min.), melodrama arguing for consumer credit co-operatives.
- From the Submerged (1912, 11 min.), drama about homelessness and “slumming parties”.
- Hope—A Red Cross Seal Story (1912, 14 min.), a small town mobilizes to fight TB.
- The Cost of Carelessness (1913, 13 min.), traffic safety film for Brooklyn school children.
- Lights and Shadows in a City of a Million (1920, 7 min.), charitable plea for the Detroit Community Fund.
- 6,000,000 American Children…Not in School (1922, 2 min.), newsreel story inspired by census data.
- The Soul of Youth (1920, 80 min.), with excerpts from Saved by the Juvenile Court (1913, 4 min.), William Desmond Taylor’s feature about an orphan reclaimed through the juvenile court of Judge Ben Lindsey.
- A Call for Help from Sing Sing! (1934, 3 min.), Warden Lawes speaks out for wayward teens.
Program 2: New Women
- The Kansas Saloon Smashers (1901, 1 min.), Carrie Nation swings her axe.
- Why Mr. Nation Wants a Divorce (1901, 2 min.), role-reversal temperance spoof.
- Trial Marriages (1907, 12 min.), male fantasy inspired by a feminist’s proposal.
- Manhattan Trade School for Girls (1911, 16 min.), profile of the celebrated progressive school for impoverished girls.
- The Strong Arm Squad of the Future (ca. 1912, 1 min.), anti-suffragette cartoon.
- A Lively Affair (ca. 1912, 7 min.), comedy with poker-playing women and child-caring men.
- A Suffragette in Spite of Himself (1912, 8 min.), boys’ prank results in an unwitting crusader.
- On to Washington (1913, 80 sec.), news coverage of the historic suffragette march.
- Hazards of Helen: Episode 13 (1915, 13 min.), Helen thwarts robbers and overcomes workplace discrimination.
- Where Are My Children? (1916, 65 min.), provocative anti-abortion drama by Lois Weber.
- The Courage of the Commonplace (1913, 13 min.), a young farm woman dreams of a better life.
- Poor Mrs. Jones! (1926, 46 min.), why wives should stay on the farm.
- Offers Herself as Bride for $10,000 (1931, 2 min.), novel approach to surviving the Depression.
Program 3: Toil and Tyranny
- Uncle Sam and the Bolsheviki-I.W.W. Rat (ca. 1919, 40 sec.), anti-union cartoon from the Ford Motor Company.
- The Crime of Carelessness (1912, 14 min.), “Business” version of the Triangle Factory fire.
- Who Pays? Episode 12 (1915, 35 min.), a lumberyard strike brings deadly consequences.
- Surviving reel from Labor's Reward (1925, 13 min.), the American Federation of Labor’s argument for “buying union.”
- Listen to Some Words of Wisdom (1930, 2 min.), why personal thrift feeds the Depression.
- The Godless Girl (1928, 128 min.), Cecil B. DeMille’s sensational exposé of juvenile reformatories.
Program 4: Americans in the Making
- Emigrants Landing at Ellis Island (1903, 2 min.), actuality footage from July 9, 1903.
- An American in the Making (1913, 15 min), U.S. Steel film promoting immigration and industrial safety.
- Ramona (1910, 16 min.), Helen Hunt Jackson’s classic about racial conflict in early California, retold by D.W. Griffith and starring Mary Pickford.
- Redskin (1929, 82 min.), racial tolerance epic, shot in 2-strip Technicolor at Acoma Pueblo and Canyon de Chelly.
- The United Snakes of America (ca. 1917, 80 sec.), World War I cartoon assailing homefront dissenters.
- Uncle Sam Donates for Liberty Bonds (1918, 75 sec.), patriotic “striptease” cartoon.
- 100% American (1918, 14 min.), Mary Pickford buys war bonds and supports the troops.
- Bud's Recruit (1918, 26 min.), brothers learn to serve their country in King Vidor’s earliest surviving film.
- The Reawakening (1919, 10 min.), documentary about helping disabled veterans to build new lives.
- Eight Prohibition Newsreels (1923–33, 13 min.), from Capital Stirred by Biggest Hooch Raid to Repeal Brings Wet Flood!