Broken Laws

Broken Laws (1924) is an American silent dramatic film directed by Roy William Neill, remarkable for the appearance of Dorothy Davenport, who is billed as "Mrs. Wallace Reid".

Broken Laws
Directed byRoy William Neill
Produced byDorothy Davenport
Thomas H. Ince
Written byMarion Jackson
Bradley King
Based onthe short story, Broken Laws
by Adela Rogers St. Johns
Thomas Ince Corporation
Distributed byFilm Booking Office of America
Release date
  • November 9, 1924 (1924-11-09)
Running time
70 min.
CountryUnited States


Joan Allen (Davenport) is a loving mother who can't help indulging her son Bobby, spoiling him to the point where he is an irresponsible "jazz-mad" teenager on trial for vehicular manslaughter. She wakes up with a start at the end of the trial, with new resolve to provide the right amount of parental discipline.

Production background

Davenport's husband was the star Wallace Reid, who died of morphine addiction in January 1923. By June 1923, Davenport had co-produced, starred in and toured the country with Human Wreckage, a moralistic warning about the terrors of drug addiction. The film's sensational tone, and the roadshow engagement with her personal appearances, were a direct precursor to the later 1930s exploitation films of Kroger Babb and others.

Broken Laws on the topic of parental overindulgence is the second of Davenport's "social conscience" releases, followed by The Red Kimona (1925), based on a true-life story of white slavery.[1]


Preservation status

According to the SilentEra website, a print exists in the Cinematheque Royale de Belgique.

See also


  1. Guide to the silent years of American cinema, by Donald W. McCaffrey, Christopher P. Jacobs, page 101
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