The Rise of Jennie Cushing

The Rise of Jennie Cushing is a 1917 American silent drama film directed by Maurice Tourneur, produced by Famous Players-Lasky, and distributed by Artcraft Pictures, an affiliate of Paramount Pictures. The story based upon the novel The Rise of Jennie Cushing by Mary Watts and stars Broadway's Elsie Ferguson. The film marked Ferguson's second motion picture. It is a lost film.[1][2][3]

The Rise of Jennie Cushing
Newspaper advertisement.
Directed byMaurice Tourneur
Produced byAdolph Zukor
Written byCharles Maigne (scenario)
Based onThe Rise of Jennie Cushing
by Mary Watts
StarringElsie Ferguson
CinematographyJohn van den Broek
Distributed byArtcraft Pictures
Release date
November 11, 1917
Running time
5 reels
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)


As described in a film magazine,[4] when the police authorities learn of the type of people Jennie Cushing (Ferguson) lives with, they send her to a reformatory. Shortly before the end of her term she becomes the hired girl of the Doane's. From there she goes to the city and becomes the maid to the wealthy Edith Gerrard (Delatore). When Donelson Meigs (Dexter), a famous artist, is painting Miss Gerrard's picture, he falls in love with the maid, who accompanies her mistress to each sitting. He persuades Jennie to pose for him and finally tells her of his love. Jennie realizes the difference in their social positions and, although she now lives with him, she will not become his wife. After Jennie discovers that Donelson has learned of her having been in a reformatory, she leaves him and goes to America, where she starts a home for young children of the slums. After a two-year search Donelson finds her and professes his love.



Like many American films of the time, The Rise of Jennie Cushing was subject to cuts by city and state film censorship boards. The Chicago Board of Censors required cuts of the intertitles "Marie's story was simple, etc.", "It seems wrong and vile - I'll go with you", "Your mother is nearly distracted. Have you really married that Cushing woman?", and "Tell her its Jennie Cushing", the entire incident of the girl's visit to Marie, the intertitles "I won't have a woman like you around my children" and "I want you to be my dear and honored wife", and to change the intertitile "Does Mrs. Jennie Cushing live here?" to "Does Mrs. Jennie Meigs live here?"[5]


  1. The American Film Institute Catalog Feature Films: 1911-20 by The American Film Institute, c. 1988
  2. The AFI Catalog of Feature Films: The Rise of Jennie Cushing
  3. The Library of Congress American Silent Feature Film Survival Catalog: The Rise of Jennie Cushing
  4. "Reviews: The Rise of Jennie Cushing". Exhibitors Herald. New York: Exhibitors Herald Company. 5 (21): 26. November 17, 1917.
  5. "Official Cut-Outs by the Chicago Board of Censors". Exhibitors Herald. 5 (22): 33. 24 November 1917.
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