Manslaughter (1922 film)

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Manslaughter
Manslaughter-1922.jpg
The famous orgy scene from the film
Directed by Cecil B. DeMille
Produced by Cecil B. DeMille
Jesse L. Lasky
Written by Jeanie MacPherson
Alice Duer Miller (novel)
Starring Leatrice Joy
Cinematography L. Guy Wilky
Alvin Wyckoff
Edited by Anne Bauchens
Production
company
Distributed by Paramount Pictures
Release dates
  • September 24, 1922 (1922-09-24)
Running time 100 minutes
(10 reels; 9,061 feet)
Country United States
Language Silent
English intertitles
Budget $385,000[1]

Manslaughter is a 1922 American silent drama film directed by Cecil B. DeMille and starring Thomas Meighan, Leatrice Joy and Lois Wilson.

Plot[edit]

Newspaper ad for the film.

A wild, wealthy woman (Joy) is brought to heel by a sermonizing district attorney after she accidentally hits and kills a motorcycle cop.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

According to Leatrice Joy, the filming of the car chase scene was extremely nerve-wracking because she herself had to drive the car, which had been fitted with a platform to support two cameramen and the director, plus equipment. Their safety depended entirely upon her skills as a motorist.[2] Joy did most of her own driving, though in some shots the car was driven by stunt double Leo Nomis.[3] During the shooting of a prison sequence, Joy burned her hand accidentally with soup in a prop cauldron; assistant director Cullen Tate had neglected to inform her that the soup was scalding hot.[2]

Preservation status[edit]

Prints of the film exist in the George Eastman House film archive, and in the Paul Killiam Collection.

Reaction[edit]

Manslaughter is thought of by historians as one of De Mille's lesser efforts as a director. Historian Kevin Brownlow notes that Joy and Wilson "both give far better performances than the film deserves."[4] "It is hard to believe that such a crude and unsubtle film could come from a veteran like De Mille," said a 1963 Theodore Huff Society program note for the film, "harder still to believe that this came from the same year that Orphans of the Storm, Down to the Sea in Ships", and Foolish Wives. The amateurish and crudely faked chase scenes that start the film are of less technical slickness than Sennett had been getting ten years earlier. Manslaughter is exactly the kind of picture that the unknowing regard as typical of the silent film - overwrought, pantomimically acted, written in the manner of a Victorian melodrama, the kind of film that invites laughter at it rather than with it."[4]

When a print was screened by William K. Everson for Joy's daughter's birthday, the star of the film attended and saw it for the first time in forty years. According to Kevin Brownlow, "Miss Joy thought it hilarious."[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Progressive Silent Film List: Manslaughter". Silent Era. Retrieved 2008-05-02. 
  2. ^ a b Brownlow, K.; The parade's gone by...; University of California Press, 1976; p. 185
  3. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0013372/fullcredits#cast
  4. ^ a b c Brownlow, K.; The parade's gone by...; University of California Press, 1976; p. 184

External links[edit]