Inspiration (1915 film)

Inspiration is a 1915 American silent drama film written by Virginia Tyler Hudson and directed by George Foster Platt and starring Audrey Munson. It is notable for being the first non-pornographic American film to feature full nudity of a woman. On reissue in 1918, the film was called The Perfect Model. All copies of the movie are believed to have been lost.[1]

Promotional brochure
Directed byGeorge Foster Platt
Produced byEdwin Thanhouser
Written byVirginia Tyler Hudson (scenario)
StarringAudrey Munson
Thomas A. Curran
CinematographyLawrence E. Williams
Thanhouser Film Corporation
Distributed byMutual Film Corporation
Release date
  • November 18, 1915 (1915-11-18)
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)


A young sculptor searches for the perfect model to inspire his work. He finds a poverty-stricken girl who he thinks is the one he has been looking for. When she wanders off, he visits all the famous statues in Manhattan hoping to find her again.


Audrey Munson and Thomas A. Curran in Inspiration
Audrey Munson (center) as The Model, with Thomas A. Curran (left) as The Artist


Inspiration was released November 18, 1915. Thanhouser's publicity department issued a press statement titled "Inspiration, a Study in Thanhouser Ideals", an interview some newspapers captioned in terms that implied that the studio advocated nudity in motion pictures. Producer Edwin Thanhouser wrote a letter to the editor of The Morning Telegraph to correct that impression: "I wish to state that our five-reel Mutual Masterpiece Inspiration was viewed and passed on by the National Board of Censorship without a single alteration."[2]


"Inspiration presents a decided novelty, for it is the first moving picture in which the nude figure of a woman has been used for artistic reasons only," wrote The Morning Telegraph, which reported Munson's credentials as one of the most famous artist's models in the United States. "Miss Munson's classic beauty and her remarkable poise absolutely remove every suggestion of the objectionable," wrote the reviewer. "George Foster Platt, who directed the picture, has used the utmost delicacy producing the picture, and it would have to be a very prudish person who could find any serious objection to the film. The story is too insignificant to sustain the interest for five reels, but the many beautiful poses of Miss Munson will do more than make up for the lack of a good plot. The picture will attract more than usual interest and the delicate and attractive way that a difficult subject has been filmed will no doubt receive the praise it deserves."[2]

Likewise, a reviewer for The Moving Picture World regarded the story as "slight and conventional", while another credited the film for "presenting a conventional but reasonably diverting story. … Moreover, it may be noted in favor of Inspiration that it possesses an artistic, and at times, even an educational value. Good taste has been displayed in the handling of scenes that might easily become coarse."[2]

Critics praised the third reel of the film, which details the difficult process of molding Munson's body in plaster for the casting of a sculpture.[2]

"At last true art has stepped into the motion field and it is all due to Audrey Munson, the Panama-Pacific model who has gained much fame about of late owing to her shapely figure," wrote Variety. "There is a bit of a story. It is trivial, however. It is about an artist unable to get a satisfactory model. His friends find a country girl who never posed before. She needs the money. She is capable from the minute she starts and immediately wins fame for the sculptor. There is a bit of love mixed in with the model and artist being joined at the altar. After all the posing that girl did that boy took no chance whatever when he married her, for there was nothing hidden from him. It is one nude pose after another. Miss Munson is always the central and bare figure. The picture has an educational trend as well as being artful. This will make some dizzy, but bookers should get busy. It's a cuckoo."[2]

See also


  1. "Inspiration". The Progressive Silent Film List. Silent Era. Retrieved March 4, 2013.
  2. Bowers, Q. David. "Inspiration". Thanhouser Films: An Encyclopedia and History. Thanhouser Company Film Preservation, Inc. Retrieved January 23, 2016.
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