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On the Brink (1911)

Far from the maddened throngs of the city, far from the teeming, seething city streets, in a little fishing town, lives Tess and her half-witted brother, Sam. By clam digging they earn a ... See full summary »

Writer:

Lois Weber (scenario)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Phillips Smalley ... Jed - a Young Fisherman
Lois Weber ... Tess - a Girl of the Village
Charles De Forrest ... Sam - Tess's Demented Brother
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Storyline

Far from the maddened throngs of the city, far from the teeming, seething city streets, in a little fishing town, lives Tess and her half-witted brother, Sam. By clam digging they earn a simple living, but life is sweet in spite of its simplicity. Right near their hut lived a young fisherman, handsome, brave, and bold, who sympathized with the girl because she had to support her semi-demented brother, who took an interest in her, a friendly interest, and no more. But the maid, in the manner of woman misconstrues his attitude and takes his friendly interest and concern for the divine spark. So she learns to love him as a woman can only love once in her life, and he is ignorant of the romantic relations she has assumed this simple friendship to be. Often human hearts suffer, and this time the warm, young heart of Tess is to feel the pang and anguish of a love in vain, for there comes to the fishing bank a city girl, accompanied by her mother and father. They meet the young fisherman and... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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title directed by female | See All (1) »

Genres:

Short | Drama

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 June 1911 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Trivia

A tinted nitrate print of this film was found by the Library of Congress in 2012. See more »

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User Reviews

 
Lois Weber Stars, Writes and Co-Directs
9 December 2018 | by bobliptonSee all my reviews

Lois Weber came from a religious Pennsylvania Dutch family and had spent time working for a evangelical street group akin the the Salvation Army. She entered film as an actress in 1908 and in 1911 took the leap behind the camera, writing and co-directing with Edwin S. Porter. For this movie, she wrote, co-directed (with Porter) and starred with her husband Phillips Smalley.

Lois Weber lives in a small fishing village with her idiot brother, Charles De Forrest. Most of the other villagers like to torment the poor fool, but Smalley is kind. One day, Miss Weber gets locked in the ice house, and when her brother tries to get help to release her, they drive him off with blows.

Although it looks like the final third of the movie is missing, what survives is fine film making. The unnamed cameraman shoots the seashore quite beautifully, and the objects around them show their utilitarian grace; even the ramshackle wooden structures, and blocks of ice show their own beauty.

We can also see Miss Weber's god-fearing background; one of the titles refers to Mr. Smalley as a "Samaritan", and one shack has "Gallilee Club" painted on it.

Miss Weber would go on to become the shining director at Rex, which Porter had set up after he left the Edison Company. Later, Universal would absorb Rex, and she would be one of their most successful and innovative directors. Her career would falter in the mid-1920s and she made only one sound film.


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