Sunday, August 14, 2011

Crossed Wires - 1915

Crossed Wires: Two reels, released June 29, 1915.
Directed by Frederick R. Sullivan. Scenario by Philip Lonergan.
Popular suspense drama in two reels with innovative camera technique, with Florence LaBadie and Morris Foster.
Print source: British Film Institute National Film and Television Archive, 30 minutes, 58 seconds.
Cast: Inda Palmer (Mrs. Angell, an old woman), Morris Foster (Will Drake, her nephew), Florence LaBadie (Flo Drake, his sister), Boyd Marshall (Benton, a civil engineer), Ina Hammer (Susan Watson, the housekeeper), Morgan Jones, Ernest Warde.
Original music composed and performed by Andrew Crow (​people/​crowa.htm.)
In the spirit of the enormously popular mystery and crime pulps of the day, Crossed Wires is a suspense picture with a flair for good storytelling and stylistic innovation, strikingly similar to the later filmmaking style of Hitchcock.
An innocent man is accused and convicted of murder, and when the facts finally surface, the innocent man's sister sets about trapping the guilty party. The courtroom scene, though not unusual, includes a dramatic pan between two close-ups for purely psychological effect. Other advances in cinematography are a close-up reaction shot and two insert shots of objects. The surprise psychological climax is also novel. Stylistically, lighting effects for the dark house scenes are very effective, and in one scene a flashlight, the only illumination on the set, is actually shined into the camera. This treatment is decades ahead of its time.

For futher information on films by Thanhouser, visit the site above. Let’s keep memories of this great studio alive.

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