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The Slave (1909)

A Greek woman marries a struggling sculptor. When he can't support her and their baby, she offers to sell herself as a slave to allow them to buy food.

Director:

D.W. Griffith

Writer:

D.W. Griffith
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Stars: John R. Cumpson, Florence Lawrence, Anita Hendrie
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Cast

Credited cast:
Florence Lawrence ... Nerada
James Kirkwood ... Alachus - Nerada's Husband
Harry Solter Harry Solter ... Deletius - the Patrician Rival
Henry B. Walthall ... Alachus' Friend
Frank Powell ... Deletius' Slave Master
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Kate Bruce ... Mourning Woman
William J. Butler William J. Butler ... A Patrician
Gladys Egan ... A Child
Arthur V. Johnson ... Deletius House Guest
Owen Moore ... Deletius House Guest
Alfred Paget ... A Barbarian - in Animal Skin
Lottie Pickford ... A Dancer
Mary Pickford ... A Slave Girl
Mack Sennett ... A Barbarian - in Animal Skin
George Siegmann ... A Soldier
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Storyline

The noble sacrifice of a devoted wife and mother. The pages of Roman history do not chronicle a more noble deed of self-sacrifice than that set forth in this Biograph story, which shows how a devoted Roman wife and mother went to the very extreme of mental, moral and manual endurance for the sake of her beloved ones. Nerada, a beautiful Roman girl, was much sought by lovers, among whom was Deletius, a wealthy patrician, but she clings to the white rose of purity, rejects the nobleman's gifts and proposals to accept one of her own honest caste, the poor young sculptor, Alachus, whom she marries. Some years later we visit the atelier of Alachus to find that bitter poverty is the lot of the little Roman family, now increased by a child, who is lying ill unto death. The poor sculptor enters, returning from a tiresome, fruitless journey trying to sell his statues, but the very gods seem to conspire, and he is now face to face with that wolverine specter, starvation. Footsore and weak from ... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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Genres:

Short | Drama

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

29 July 1909 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Biograph Company See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Trivia

This film is posted online to the Library of Congress' National Screening Room. See more »

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User Reviews

A Moving Painting
4 November 2004 | by Single-Black-MaleSee all my reviews

What you have to understand about these short films that the 34 year old D.W. Griffith was churning out twice-weekly is that his emphasis was on scenery rather than story. Let's face it, scripts before 1940 were basically stage plays, and before the talking period, scenarios were robbed of dialogue which meant that actors had to improvise under the guidance of the director. You cannot judge this short piece by the script or story, but by what the camera frames. Let's not forget that cinema at this stage was just a moving painting. Griffith was a cinematic Hogarth at this stage and used his short films as a painting. Therefore, you need to watch this offering as a painting that moves.


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