Silent films about disabilities

Open, general discussion of silent films, personalities and history.
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milefilms

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Silent films about disabilities

PostSun Mar 26, 2017 5:14 pm

Dear folks,

We have a friend of a dear friend who wants to show some silent disability films on April 6th! So we're in a bit of a hurry. Does anyone know where we can find prints of the following films? Thanks!

The Automobile Accident (1904)
No listing in the AFI Catalog but there is a 1906 Pathé Frères film called Moto-car and Cripple
(AKA Automobile et Cul-de-jatte, Moto Car & Legless Begger, Motocar and Cripple)
and the notation shows that it is mentioned on page 37 of Treasures from the American Film Archives

The One-Legged Man (1908)
Pathé Frères (cited in the research papers of George Pratt and contemporary reviews)

The Invalid's Adventure (1907)
Miles Brothers from Great Britain. All citations are contemporary.

Deaf Mutes' Ball (1907)
American Mutoscope and Biograph. The notation shows that it is mentioned on page 251 of Treasures from the American Film Archives

The Legless Runner (1907)
Gaumont (cited in the research papers of George Pratt and contemporary reviews)

The Hunchback Brings Luck (1908)
Pathé Frères (cited in the research papers of George Pratt and contemporary reviews)

The Little Cripple (1908)
Pathé Frères (cited in the research papers of George Pratt and the notation shows that it is mentioned on page 57 of Treasures from the American Film Archives

A Blind Woman's Story (1908)
Pathé Frères (cited in the research papers of George Pratt and contemporary reviews)

The Blind Boy (1908)
S. Lubin. (cited in the research papers of George Pratt, LOC Motion Picture Print collection, and contemporary reviews)

The Cripple's Marriage (1909)
Gaumont. (cited in the research papers of George Pratt and contemporary reviews)
and, in what might be the most curious and intriguing title of all time, THE ELECTRIFIED HUMPBACK (1909)

Alternative title: Electrified Humpback. Empire Film Company. (cited in the research papers of George Pratt and contemporary reviews)
Dennis Doros
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boblipton

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Re: Silent films about disabilities

PostSun Mar 26, 2017 5:21 pm

Kobelkoff (1900). It's on a Lobster collection.

Bob
Film is not the art of scholars, but of illiterates.

-- Werner Herzog
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Rodney

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Re: Silent films about disabilities

PostMon Mar 27, 2017 8:36 am

Can't help you with those (which is why I'm answering a question you didn't ask), but there's a great amputee character in The Flying Ace (on the recent Kino "Pioneers of African American Cinema" set). His ability to function and excel despite missing a leg is one of the highlights of the film (and provides much of the comic relief).

Lon Chaney in The Penalty is fairly easily available too, and his legless character is likewise the master of his environment. Strange story, though.

And of course there's the wheel-chair-bound Charles Farrell in Lucky Star, though I imagine the ending can be a bit much for actual disabled people. If it were only that easy...

Blind characters are fairly common in melodrama, of course. Seventh Heaven, Orphans of the Storm, Mothers of Men, and City Lights, just for starters.

And there are any number of George Melies shorts where people lose arms, legs, and heads; but I wouldn't call them disabled (as they tend to keep dancing about until their limbs are reattached).
Rodney Sauer
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"Let the Music do the Talking!"
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silentfilm

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Re: Silent films about disabilities

PostMon Mar 27, 2017 11:14 am

Lon Chaney's The Shock (1923) also has his character paralyzed from the waist down. Many silent films like this will refer to people like him as "cripples" though.

The third story in the excellent While New York Sleeps (1920) has Marc McDermott as a paralyzed man who cannot move at all. He is a witness to a crime, and can only communicate by moving his eyes! It is quite suspenseful.

The ending of The Patent Leather Kid (1928) has Richard Barthelmess in a wheelchair due to a war injury. I don't think that the ending of this film would go over very well with audience members who are actually paralyzed though!
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greta de groat

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Re: Silent films about disabilities

PostMon Mar 27, 2017 11:27 am

silentfilm wrote:
The ending of The Patent Leather Kid (1928) has Richard Barthelmess in a wheelchair due to a war injury. I don't think that the ending of this film would go over very well with audience members who are actually paralyzed though!


Oh no, is that another one like Lucky Star? I was about to mention Humoresque where i think the lead character's younger brother had some sort of mental disability, completely forgetting that we ended up with another Lucky Star situation with the violinist. Geez, those kind of endings are really insulting and there seems to be a lot of them. At least there is irony in it in The Home Maker. Of course worse is the lost talkie The Sacred Flame where Pauline Frederick's son is in a wheelchair and doesn't know his wife is in love with his brother, so Polly kills him! Yikes!

greta
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Unsung Divas of the Silent Screen
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milefilms

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Re: Silent films about disabilities

PostMon Mar 27, 2017 12:17 pm

First, thank you to you all! Just to let you know, we're looking for these specific shorts or others of the time period and length. They are looking for short films to go with Deliverance featuring Helen Keller.
Dennis Doros
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Daniel Eagan

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Re: Silent films about disabilities

PostMon Mar 27, 2017 1:04 pm

May be too late for your time period, but the Red Cross film Heroes All (1920) deals with wounded WWI veterans. It's on the National Film Registry.
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Re: Silent films about disabilities

PostMon Mar 27, 2017 6:38 pm

John Barrymore's Captain Ahab in The Sea Beast(1926)
Last edited by sepiatone on Tue Mar 28, 2017 9:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Silent films about disabilities

PostTue Mar 28, 2017 9:47 am

"The Thieving Hand", "Orlac's Hände"

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