Two Astonishing Films by Pioneer Woman Director Lois Weber
Restored and Available NOW from Milestone!
When this world-famous prima ballerina met the most powerful woman director in Hollywood, they made…
****** Movie magic!******
In 1916, two great women artists — dance superstar Anna Pavlova and pioneering filmmaker Lois Weber — combined forces to create an astonishing and haunting lost epic, The Dumb Girl of Portici!
Milestone is thrilled to announce that The Dumb Girl of Portici and Shoes — another Weber masterpiece created in the same year —are restored and available on DVD and Blu-ray for Milestone newsletter subscribers only — NOW!
“Brilliant.” — Manohla Dargis, New York Times
Selected for the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress
Lois Weber weaves a beautifully simple story of one shop girl’s struggles into a heartbreaking cinematic masterpiece. Filmed on the streets of Los Angeles — including a remarkable scene in Pershing Square and another in front of Woolworth’s on Broadway — Weber follows the daily travails of Eva Meyer, whose meager wages from her job at a five-and-dime store are the sole financial support for three younger sisters, a struggling mother, and a father who prefers beer and penny dreadfuls to work. When there is barely enough to cover the grocer’s bill, Eva is forced to patch the holes in the soles of her shoes with cardboard. But with each rainy day and every splinter, her plight becomes more painful, and finally intolerable. With no solution in sight, Eva is forced to consider other options.
The Shoes restoration by the EYE Filmmuseum combined a Dutch nitrate print and a 1930s “comedic” short reissue of the film found at the Library of Congress. Thanks to the recent discovery of the original script and intertitles in the 16mm microfilm files at NBC/Universal, the Milestone edition more closely reflects the original film. Prominent musicians and composers Donald Sosin and Mimi Rabson have created a mesmerizing and moving score.
Commentary track by Lois Weber biographer Shelley Stamp
1932 spoof Unshod Maiden
1971 audio interview of Mary MacLaren
Richard Koszarski on Unshod Maiden
Shoes: Before-and-after video
1911 short film, Lost Illusions written by and starring Weber
“Pavlova’s artistry is something
that we are often asked to take on faith, something where you had to be there. Watching The Dumb Girl, you are there!”
— Joan Acocella, The New Yorker
The Dumb Girl of Porticihas been long overdue for recognition as one of pioneer filmmaker Lois Weber’s finest creations and a landmark in women’s cinema. The blockbuster film was Universal’s most expensive to date and featured an enormous cast, large-scale sets, and an ambitious story.
For Weber, the filmrepresented a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work with Anna Pavlova, the incomparable prima ballerina. Pavlova was appearing with the Boston Opera Company in D. F. E. Auber’s 1829 La Muette de Portici, portraying Fenella, a wordless fisher-girl living during the Spanish occupation of Naples in the mid-17th century who is seduced and abandoned by a Spanish nobleman. In the opera and in Weber’s stirring drama, the betrayal of Fenella and the oppression of her people inspire her brother to foment a revolution.
Sadly, over the years The Dumb Girl of Porticihas fallen out of distribution. This restoration, with a dazzling new score by the acclaimed composer John Sweeney, offers audiences a chance to experience the energy, brilliance, and the talents of maestras Pavlova and Weber.
The Immortal Swan, 1935 feature documentary by Pavlova's partner Victor D’Andre with amazing footage of the great ballerina
Anna Pavlova in Newsreels
Anna Pavlova's own 9.5mm home movies!
Films of Anna Pavlova dancing her most famous roles
Milestone Newsletter subscribers only can purchase these two great rediscoveries now for 20% off the retail price