Salomy Jane (1914 film)

Salomy Jane is a 1914 American Western feature film based on Bret Harte's 1898 novella of the same name.[1] It is the only known surviving complete work of silent film era actress Beatriz Michelena and the California Motion Picture Corporation.

Salomy Jane
"Tell us just one fairy tale, S'lomy"
Directed byWilliam Nigh
Lucius Henderson
Produced byAlexander E. Beyfuss
Written byPaul Armstrong (play & screenplay)
Bret Harte (novella)
StarringBeatriz Michelena
House Peters
CinematographyArthur A. Cadwell
Arthur Powelson
Distributed byAlco Film Corporation
Release date
  • November 2, 1914 (1914-11-02)
Running time
approximately one hour (six reels)
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)

Plot

In rough-and-tumble Gold Rush-era California, a woman (Salomy Jane) is saved from a ruffian (Red Pete) by a heroic stranger (Jack Dart), and he is saved from a lynching after being falsely accused of a crime.

Cast

  • Beatriz Michelena – Salomy Jane
  • House Peters – Jack Dart, The Man
  • William Pike – Red Pete
  • Clara Beyers – Mrs. Heath (as Clara Byers)
  • Lorraine Levy – Anna May
  • Loretta Ephran – Mary Ann
  • Walter Williams – Willie Smith
  • Demetrios Mitsoras – Gallagher
  • Andrew Robson – Yuba Bill
  • Matt B. Snyder – Madison Clay
  • Harold B. Meade – Baldwin
  • Clarence Arper – Colonel Starbottle
  • Harold Entwistle – Larabee
  • Fred Snook – Seth Low
  • Ernest Joy – Marbury
  • William Nigh – Rufe Waters
  • Jack Holt – Cowboy in saloon playing solitaire, stuntman (uncredited)

Distinctions

Salomy Jane was California Motion Picture Corporation's debut[2] feature as well as screen appearance by stage actress and singer Beatriz Michelena. George E. Middleton saw in his Latina wife a competitor to Mary Pickford as a premier screen star, each production intended to be Michelena's vehicle to success. Despite being well received by the public it did not return a profit for the national distributor, Alco Films. The subsequent productions being commercial failures did not preclude Michelena demanding star-treatment perquisites that proved too much for the studio.

After the bankruptcy of California Motion Pictures, the couple bought it back and formed Beatriz Michelena Features,[3] producing Just Squaw (1919) and The Flame of Hellgate (1920).[4][5] Middleton and Michelena divorced in the 1920s.[6]

Salomy Jane includes a scene in which actor Jack Holt rides a horse to the edge of a steep embankment then jumps off tumbling more than a hundred feet down into the Russian River. The stunt netted him a bit part as a saloon patron. This role was long cited as his debut appearance in film but he had been taking bit parts during the preceding year.[7]

Restoration

All California Motion Picture Corporation and Beatrice Michelena Studio films were believed lost due to a 1931 studio fire in San Rafael, California caused by a child's firecracker prank that destroyed the vault in which the films were stored. However, a Salomy Jane (1914) print was found in Australia in 1996, and has been preserved by the Library of Congress. New 35mm prints began limited circulation in 2008.[8] The restoration was part of a DVD released (2011) by the National Film Preservation Foundation in the anthology Treasures 5: The West 1898–1938.

Remakes

The film was remade as Salomy Jane (1923) starring Jacqueline Logan by Famous Players-Lasky and released by Paramount Pictures,[9] and remade again as the sound film Wild Girl (1932) by Fox Film Corporation.[10]

See also

References

  1. Harte, Bret (April 14, 1910). "Salomy Jane". Houghton Mifflin via Google Books.
  2. http://www.silentera.com/PSFL/companies/C/californiaMoPicCorp.html ; viewed December 28, 2001
  3. Beatriz Michelena Features. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved June 21, 2012
  4. Just Squaw. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved June 21, 2012
  5. The Flame of Hellgate. Internet Movie Database. Retrieved June 21, 2012
  6. "Pacific Sun. Arts and Entertainment. September 26, 2008. Jason Walsh. Film: Salomy's last dance: A flashback to Marin's century-old quest for cinematic superstardom". Archived from the original on July 19, 2011.
  7. "Movie Reviews". April 12, 2019 via NYTimes.com.
  8. "California Film Institute. Smith Rafael Film Center. Salomy Jane: Introduced by historians David Kiehn and William Sagar, Piano Accompaniment by Bruce Loeb". Archived from the original on July 25, 2011.
  9. Internet Movie Database. Salomy Jane (1923 film)
  10. "Wild Girl" via www.imdb.com.
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