The Squaw Man

Regie: Oscar Apfel, Cecil B. DeMille, , USA, 1914

    Plakatmotiv The Squaw Man, © Lasky Feature Play Company


    Stab und Besetzung

    Produktion Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company
    Produzent Cecil B. DeMille
    Jesse L. Lasky
    Regisseur Oscar Apfel
    Cecil B. DeMille
    Drehbuch Cecil B. DeMille
    Oscar Apfel
    Kamera Alfred Gandolfi
    Schnitt Marnie Wagner
    Architekt Wilfred Buckland
    Darsteller Dustin Farnum [Capt. James Wynnegate/Jim Carston]
    Monroe Salisbury [Earl of Kerhill]
    Winifred Kingston [Diana, Countess of Kerhill]
    Mrs. A. W. Filson [The Dowager Lady Kerhill]
    Haidee Fuller [Lady Mabel Wynnegate]
    Princess Red Wing [Nat-U-Ritch]
    Foster Knox [Sir John]
    Carmen De Rue [Hal]
    William Elmer [Cash Hawkins]
    Dick La Reno [Big Bill]
    Dick Le Strange [Grouchy]
    Fred Montague [Mr. Petrie]
    Cecil B. DeMille [Faro Dealer (Nicht genannt )]
    Joseph Singleton [Tabywana (Unter dem Namen Joseph E. Singleton)]

    Technische Angaben
    Kategorie: Langspiel Film
    Technische Info: Format: 35 mm, 1:1,33 - Ratio: 1:1,33 - Schwarz-Weiss Film,
    Tonsystem: silent
    Premiere: 15. Februar 1914 in USA

    Inhaltsangabe
    James Wynnegate is made executor of funds raised by members of his regiment for the families of men killed in battle. His cousin, the Earl of Kerhill, embezzles the funds, but Kerhill's wife Diana, with whom Wynnegate is in love, convinces the latter to take the blame and leave England in order to save the family's honor. Wynnegate eventually goes to Wyoming and buys a ranch using the name Jim Carston. He is saved from an attack by Cash Hawkins by the Indian maiden Nat-U-Ritch and he marries her when he learns that she is pregnant. Some time later, Diana comes West with news that Kerhill is dead, but that he had admitted his theft shortly before death. Nat-U-Ritch, knowing that her husband will send their young son Hal away, and hearing that she will be arrested for killing Hawkins, commits suicide. At the end, Diana embraces Hal. (Turner Classic Movies)

    Kritiken
    The Squaw Man (1914) is the first film by director Cecil B. DeMille, and reputedly, the first feature film ever made in Hollywood (though some film scholars dispute this claim) . These noteworthy "firsts" began when would-be stage producer Jesse Lasky approached Cecil's brother, William C. de Mille (a celebrated Broadway playwright) to collaborate on an operetta. William was managed by his mother, Mrs. H.C. de Mille, who ran a theatrical agency. Since William was committed to another project, she recommended her younger son Cecil, who also had dramatic aspirations, and was not without experience both as a writer and actor. A skeptical Lasky agreed to meet, and he and Cecil quickly forged a bond and decided to work together -- not on a play, but a film. Short films were the norm, but it was becoming evident that feature-length films would soon dominate the marketplace. DeMille and Lasky decided to wager on the future of cinema, and with an investment of $26,500, they formed the Lasky Feature Play Company.

    As their first property, they chose a story that appeared to be an easily exploitable property: The Squaw Man, written by Edwin Milton Royle. It had begun as a successful stage play in 1905 (featuring future cowboy star William S. Hart), and had been revived in 1907, 1908 and 1911. At a price of $5,000, the filmmakers recruited the star of the 1911 run, Dustin Farnum. Because DeMille had no experience as a filmmaker (his apprenticeship consisted of a single day at the Edison Studios), Oscar Apfel was brought along to co-direct, and to help initiate the producers into the world of filmmaking.

    In 1913 (when The Squaw Man began filming), plenty of motion pictures were being filmed outdoors, but generally within driving distance to the studios in New York and New Jersey. DeMille recognized the power of exotic scenery and intended to use sweeping plains and imposing mountains as the key visual component of his film, so he boarded a train west, bound for the picturesque-sounding Flagstaff, Arizona. Unfortunately, Flagstaff failed to deliver such awesome vistas. Discouraged but not broken, De Mille, Farnum & Co. remained on the train until it reached the end of the line: the junction city of Los Angeles. They drifted into the sleepy community of Hollywood and rented a large barn at Vine and Selma Streets for $200 per month. The barn was the seed from which Paramount Pictures would eventually grow, and still stands today, preserved as a museum of early Hollywood filmmaking. On December 29, 1913, the cameras began to turn.

    The melodrama concerns itself with the honor of Captain James Wynnegate (Farnum), a peer of England. When his cousin, Sir Henry (Monroe Salisbury) embezzles money from an orphans' fund to pay his gambling debts, James accepts the blame and is banished from high society. When the ship upon which he is traveling burns and sinks, James is rescued and taken to America. Disgusted by the crime and chicanery of the big city, he accepts a Westerner's invitation to travel with him back to the plains. The sophisticated Britisher is at first mocked, but quickly earns the respect of the rangehands, with the exception of the villainous rustler, Cash Hawkins (William Elmer). When Nat-U-Rich (Red Wing), a native American woman, saves his life, they fall in love and are married. Suffering financial hardship, James's future seems grim, until a dying confession, an unexpected reunion with an old flame (Winifred Kingston) and a fateful shoot-out bring the film (already bursting at the seams with narrative) to a surprising and elaborately plotted resolution.

    Cecil B. DeMille would later become synonymous with grandiose spectacle, and even in The Squaw Man, one detects his strong visual sense. To add scale and drama to scenes in a small western town, he constructed a set for the depot/general store within a few feet of a roalroad track, so that scenes filmed there are punctuated by a roaring steam enging passing almost through the set.

    Even in his first film, DeMille displayed a keen eye for lighting (influenced by the stage plays of David Belasco). Using rudimentary techniques, DeMille and cinematographer Alfred Gandolfi managed to the effects of firelight and candlelight so that the visual impact of their western was not limited to the quantity of actors on screen, but the quality of the compositions in which they are presented.

    Upon the completion of The Squaw Man, the producers (and any exhibitors who screened the film) were shocked to find the film periodically shifting up and down on the screen. The inexperienced DeMille and Lasky prepared to file a lawsuit against the Eastman Kodak Company. They consulted film pioneer Sigmund Lubin, who explained that the defect was not the film. "You used two different cameras, didn't you?" asked Lubin, according to Terry Ramsaye's book A Million and One Nights. "That's why...two different frame lines -- that makes the picture jump." DeMille made sure the cameras were properly calibrated after that, and Lubin secured a lucrative contracted to "fix" the negative and process all the distribution prints of the film. (Bret Wood, Turner Classic Movies)

    Anmerkungen
    "One-act versions of the play were produced as early as 1904. Modern sources credit the screenplay to DeMille and Apfel, the photography to Alfred Gandolfi, the editing to Mamie Wagner, and the art direction to Wilfred Buckland. This was the first release of the Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Co. Although this was not the first motion picture to be filmed in Hollywood, The Squaw Man was the first Hollywood-made feature-length production. In addition to the 1918 version of the film, DeMille directed another version for M-G-M in 1931, starring Warner Baxter, and a 1917 sequel, entitled The Squaw Man's Son ." (Turner Classic Movies)

    The Squaw Man ist ein Film, der im Jahr 1914 in USA produziert wurde. Regie führte Oscar Apfel, Cecil B. DeMille, mit Dustin Farnum, Monroe Salisbury, Winifred Kingston, Mrs. A. W. Filson, Haidee Fuller, in den wichtigsten Rollen. Der Film hatte am 15. Februar 1914 in USA seine Premiere.

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