Woman (1918 film)

Woman is a 1918 American silent film directed by Maurice Tourneur, an allegorical film showcasing the story of women through points in time. Popular in its day, the film was distributed in the State's Rights plan as opposed to a major distributor like Paramount or Universal. This film has been preserved in private collections and in major venues like the Museum of Modern Art and reportedly the Gosfilmofond Archive in Russia.[1][2]

Film poster
Directed byMaurice Tourneur
Produced byMaurice Tourneur
Written byCharles E. Whittaker
Music byHugo Riesenfeld
Edward Falck
CinematographyJohn van den Broek
René Guissart
Distributed byState Rights: Hiller & Wilk
Release date
  • October 27, 1918 (1918-10-27)
Running time
70 minutes; 7 reels
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)

Some scenes were shot at Bar Harbor, Maine. It was here that one of Tourneur's cameramen, John van den Broek, lost his life while filming a scene close to the raging Atlantic Ocean. His body was swept out to sea and never found.[3]

Prints of this film are held at Cineteca Del Friuli, Germona, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Gosfilmofond of Russia, Moscow.[4]


As described in a film magazine,[5] a modern man and woman quarrel and, in reaction to his wife, the husband recalls all the women in history who have failed their husbands or lovers. Being in an unpleasant state, he recalls Adam in the garden with a very vain Eve who disports herself in a Broadway fashion and causes the downfall of caveman-like Adam. Then he dwells on the hideous betrayal of Claudius by an unfaithful Messilna. Next he recalls the useless ruination of Abelard by the charming Heloise. Following this episode he remembers Cyrene and the fisherman, where the wife basely deserted her husband and children to swim once more in her seal skin that had been hidden from her for many years. A particularly disagreeable episode in which a young woman during the American Civil War sacrifices a wounded soldier for a bauble. After this the modern woman returns and pins up a Red Cross poster, and the modern man sees the many women of today as more or less uninspiring. An epilogue noted how World War I made men realize the true value of women, and that women are working towards victory through good works in the Red Cross and other jobs.



  1. The American Film Institute Catalog Feature Films: 1911-20 by The American Film Institute, c.1988
  2. The AFI Catalog of Feature Films: Woman
  3. Progressive Silent Film List: Woman at silentera.com
  4. The Library of Congress American Silent Feature Film Survival Catalog: Woman
  5. "Reviews: Woman". Exhibitors Herald. New York City: Exhibitors Herald Company. 7 (23): 23. November 30, 1918.

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