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Hypocrites/Eleanor's Catch [DVD]

Release Date:04/22/2008

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    Eleanor's Catch
    A typical one-reel melodrama of the mid-1910s, Eleanor's Catch features Cleo Madison as a tenement girl dallying with the neighborhood sharpie -- the well-named "Flash" Darcy (William V. Mong) -- while her loyal boyfriend Spike (Edward Hearn) is away at night school. Soon Eleanor is seemingly on the same path as her poor sister Jennie (Margaret Whistler), who has been reduced to begging strangers for kindness. But just as Flash introduces her to one of their potential victims, Eleanor whips out a gun and reveals herself to be a secret service agent in disguise. Flash is arrested and Eleanor, whose has completed her last assignment, returns to a normal life with the devoted Spike. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi

    Credit is due to director Lois Weber for establishing (or, at least, popularizing) the concept of "artistically justifiable nudity." Weber's The Hypocrites was a semi-allegorical piece, with an unclad young lady, billed appropriately as "The Naked Truth," parading across the screen at various crucial plot junctures. The story concerns a pious priest who, motivated by a love of fine art, erects a nude statue in the town square. The townspeople fail to appreciate the aesthetic value of the statue and proceed to stone the priest to death. At this point, the statue comes to life in the form of the aforementioned girl, who spends the balance of the film exposing the hypocrisy of the self-righteous townsfolk. It can be argued that only a rock-ribbed Christian like Lois Weber could have gotten away with so potentially controversial a mood piece as The Hypocrites. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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