Friday, March 13, 2009

The Mender of Nets 1912

The Mender of Nets
Director: D. W. Griffith
USA 1912
13 min

This early film by the legendary D. W. Griffith (the man behind The Birth of a Nation, Intolerance and Broken Blossoms, and later a co-founder of the independent film production company United Artists) is set on the seaside, with Mary Pickford as the net-mender on a fishing boat. She falls in love with a man who also works in the docks, but their relationship is threatened by the fact that he is already married. Which he of course haven't informed his new lover about.
A young Mabel Normand, later to become a famous silent film comedienne, also features in this film as the betrayed wife.

The Net-Mender (Mary Pickford) thinks about her loved one.

The lovers.

Complications when the wife (Mabel Normand) finds out about her husband's affair.

The wife's brother finds out about his brother-in-law, and decides upon revenge.

It is hard to say whether this film is good or not. The plot is stereotype, the acting is often quite melodramatic and the act moves very fast forward. On the other hand, the film is very interesting to see from a film history perspective. Mary Pickford is always great (even though she hardly gets the chance to show her potential here), and to be able to compare this film with Griffith's later masterpieces have to be invaluable to a cineast.

See it! It is only thirteen minutes, if that. It's always nice to have your own opinion. (Even though mine is always right.)

The Net-Mender sees a man with a gun go after her lover and is terrified.

She doesn't know what the quarrel is about, but have to interfere to save her lover.

The dramatic resolution of the story with two betrayed women.

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