George Loane Tucker | 88 mins | VHS
Silent movie (Universal’s first feature-length release) about white slavery in America. You don’t expect that from a 1913 film, eh?
Of course, the issue is handled in a suitable way for the period: why the women are kidnapped is never alluded to (in reality it was for prostitution) and all the Bad Men are brought to justice.
It’s not all bad: in a surprising move for the time, the main villain is an apparently-respectable society gentleman who publicly campaigns against white slavery; by a similar token, the kidnappers are made up of women as well as men.
The first half zips along an intricate multi-stranded narrative covering several groups of unrelated characters, but as they come together it begins to slow: what seems to be the climax takes half the film to play out its immediately-obvious events. It sadly ruins something that was initially rather promising.