Salomy Jane (film)

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Salomy Jane
House Peters lifts Beatriz Michelena onto his horse
Directed by William Nigh
Lucius Henderson
Produced by Alexander E. Beyfuss
Written by Paul Armstrong (play & screenplay)
Bret Harte (novella)
Starring Beatriz Michelena
House Peters
Cinematography Arthur A. Cadwell
Arthur Powelson
Distributed by Alco Film Corporation
Release dates
  • November 2, 1914 (1914-11-02)
Running time
approximately one hour (six reels)
Country United States
Language Silent (English intertitles)

Salomy Jane is a 1914 American Western feature film based on Bret Harte's 1898 novella of the same name.[1] It is the only known surviving complete work of silent film era actress Beatriz Michelena and the California Motion Picture Corporation.


Rough-and-tumble Gold Rush-era California: a woman (Salomy Jane) is saved from a ruffian (Red Pete) by a heroic stranger (Jack Dart), the latter saved from a lynching when falsely accused of a crime.


  • Beatriz Michelena – Salomy Jane
  • House Peters – Jack Dart, The Man
  • William Pike – Red Pete
  • Clara Beyers – Mrs. Heath (as Clara Byers)
  • Lorraine Levy – Anna May
  • Loretta Ephran – Mary Ann
  • Walter Williams – Willie Smith
  • Demetrios Mitsoras – Gallagher
  • Andrew Robson – Yuba Bill
  • Matt B. Snyder – Madison Clay
  • Harold B. Meade – Baldwin
  • Clarence Arper – Colonel Starbottle
  • Harold Entwistle – Larabee
  • Fred Snook – Seth Low
  • Ernest Joy – Marbury
  • William Nigh – Rufe Waters
  • Jack Holt – Cowboy in saloon playing solitaire, stuntman (uncredited)


Salomy Jane was the debut California Motion Picture Corporation[2] feature as well as screen appearance by stage actress and singer Beatriz Michelena. George E. Middleton saw in his Latina wife a competitor to Mary Pickford as a premier screen star, each production intended to be Michelena's vehicle to success. Despite being well received by the public it did not return a profit for the national distributor, Alco Film. The subsequent productions being commercial failures, did not preclude Michelena demanding star-treatment perquisites that proved to much for the studio. The duo left California Motion Picture forming Beatriz Michelena Features,[3] producing Just Squaw (1919) and The Flame of Hellgate (1920).[4][5] Middleton and Michelena divorced in the 1920s.[6]

Salomy Jane (1914), long cited as the debut appearance of Jack Holt seems to be in error as he had been taking bit parts during the preceding year.[7] It is the scene in which he rides a horse to the edge of a steep embankment then jumps off tumbling more than a hundred feet down into the Russian River. The stunt netted him a bit part as a saloon patron.


All California Motion Picture Corporation and Beatrice Michelena Studio films were believed lost due to a 1931 studio fire in San Rafael, California caused by a child's firecracker prank that destroyed the vault in which the films were stored. However, a Salomy Jane (1914) print was found in Australia in 1996, and has been preserved by the Library of Congress. New 35mm prints began limited circulation in 2008.[8] The restoration was part of a DVD released (2011) by the National Film Preservation Foundation in the anthology Treasures 5: The West 1898–1938.


The film was remade as Salomy Jane (1923) starring Jacqueline Logan by Famous Players-Lasky and released by Paramount Pictures,[9] and remade again as the sound film Wild Girl (1932) by Fox Film Corporation.[10]


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