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The Devil's Needle & Other Tales of Vice and Redemption [DVD]

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$24.99
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Overview

Special Features

  • Mastered In HD From Archival 35mm Elements Preserved By The Library Of Congress
  • 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.)

Synopsis

Children of Eve
Of the many films inspired by the tragic Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911, Edison's Children of Eve was inarguably the best. Realistically (and very grimly) directed by the unjustly forgotten John H. Collins, the film stars Collins' actress wife Viola Dana as the spunky daughter of a New York sweatshop owner. She remains fully aware of the dangers facing the young female workers -- the shop has no fire escape and only one stairway. Thus, she obtains a job at the shop under an assumed name, intending to collect evidence for the Labor Commission. Alas, a fire breaks out just as management has blocked off the stairway to make sure that the girls won't try to sneak off the job. Dana courageously helps her co-workers escape, only to be trapped in the conflagration herself. It is the heroine's death (a still-startling moment) that awakens her father, and other fat-cat businessmen like him, of the importance of treating workers like human beings rather than caged animals. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Devil's Needle
At the time of this picture's release, the market was glutted with pictures detailing the evils of drug abuse. But character actor Tully Marshall (here in a borderline leading man role) had recently made a splash as a dope fiend in a play called The City; perhaps this picture was made to give him a chance to do it again. Artist David White (Marshall) has a model, Rene (Norma Talmadge), who is a drug addict. He falls for Wynne Mortimer (Marguerite Marsh), the daughter of a wealthy man (F.A. Turner). But Wynne is engaged to Hugh Gordon, her father's priggish right-hand man (Howard Gaye). To ease White's hurt, Rene offers him some of her drugs. At first he refuses, but he sneaks a taste and soon becomes hooked. He wins Wynne anyhow, and they are married. But after a year, White's addiction has turned him into a crazed animal. To save his wife from any more suffering, he leaves and goes to Rene, who he discovers has quit her habit. Finally, the janitor (John Brennan) at his studio takes him out to the country to stay with an old couple. White works on their farm and is cured (although, judging from this film's reviews, even in the 1910s people knew hard labor was an unlikely way to cure drug addiction). Back home his wife searches for him and is attacked by gangsters. White comes home just in time for her rescue, and Rene, who has loved him this whole time, tearfully reunites the couple. ~ Janiss Garza, Rovi

Inside of the White Slave Traffic
Hastily filmed to capitalize on the box-office smash Traffic in Souls, Inside of the White Slave Traffic was based on a barnstorming play by Charlie Ward. Filmed on-location in New York, the story is the usual melange of women led astray by powerful and corrupt vice lords. Tricked into a phony marriage, the "ruined" heroine is forced into a life of prostitution. Escaping from a New Orleans brothel, she finds she has been branded as a harlot in the eyes of society, and thus has no choice but to return to her "trade." The moral of the story seemed to be "Ladies: don't ever leave home under any circumstances!" It was not uncommon for screenings of Inside of the White Slave Traffic to be raided by self-styled moralists. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Viola Dana
    Viola Dana
  • Robert Walker
    Robert Walker
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