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Manslaughter (1922)

Not Rated | | Drama | 24 September 1922 (USA)
Society-girl thrill seeker Lydia causes the death of motorcycle policeman and is prosecuted by her fiancé Daniel who describes in lurid detail the downfall of Rome. While she's in prison she reforms and Daniel becomes a wasted alcoholic.


Cecil B. DeMille


Jeanie Macpherson (adaptation), Alice Duer Miller (novel)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Leatrice Joy ... Lydia Thorne
Thomas Meighan ... Daniel J. O'Bannon
Lois Wilson ... Evans - Lydia's Maid
John Miltern John Miltern ... Gov. Stephan Albee
George Fawcett ... Judge Homans
Julia Faye ... Mrs. Drummond
Edythe Chapman ... Adeline Bennett
Jack Mower ... Drummond - Policeman
Dorothy Cumming ... Eleanor Bellington
Casson Ferguson ... Bobby Dorest
Michael D. Moore ... Dicky Evans (as Mickey Moore)
James Neill ... Butler
Sylvia Ashton Sylvia Ashton ... Prison Matron
Raymond Hatton ... Brown
Mabel Van Buren ... Prisoner


Lydia Thorne, a wealthy girl who loves speed and thrills, is unsympathetic when Evans, her maid, is jailed for stealing her jewels. District Attorney Daniel O'Bannon visits Lydia to make her see the error of her own ways, but instead views a scene of Lydia and her friends that reminds him of a Roman orgy. O'Bannon feels it is his duty, therefore, to send Lydia to jail for her own good when her automobile driving causes the death of a motorcycle policeman. Lydia is resentful, and her rebuff of O'Bannon, who has come to love her, causes him such remorse that he turns to drink and dissipation. Meanwhile, Lydia reforms, realizes she loves O'Bannon, and resolves to do charitable work. She and Evans open a soup kitchen after their release, and a chance meeting with O'Bannon starts him on the road to recovery. With Lydia's encouragement he becomes himself again, runs for governor, but withdraws his candidacy to marry Lydia when he sees that her record would be a liability to him in politics. Written by Pamela Short

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


For the rich and poor, the beautiful and plain-there's only one law! She has broken it and must pay! See more »




Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

24 September 1922 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Asszony, aki megbűnhődött See more »


Box Office


$385,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs



Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


"American Cinematographer" magazine published the following letter from cinematographer L. Guy Wilky in its January 1923, issue: "The list of releases for November gives me credit as being one of the cinematographers for 'Manslaughter.' I desire to state that I had no connection therewith, as my activities are confined to William de Mille productions." See more »


Lydia's Chaperon: Make Dan keep an eye on her, Eleanor. If she will show up for anybody, she will for him - but as her chaperon, I won't stay and be party to such goings on!
See more »


Referenced in A Trip to Paramountown (1922) See more »

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User Reviews

One wild flapper child
30 December 2014 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

Manslaughter has Cecil B. DeMille serving up another concoction of sex and sin and the necessary redemption. The subject is Leatrice Joy who is one flapper wild child, rich and self indulgent, who lives only for today's pleasures.

She's got none other than the District Attorney pining after her in the person of Thomas Meighan. But Meighan is an upright puritanical sort of guy who takes his job seriously. When Joy is arrested for running down someone in a car she was driving while intoxicated on some illegal liquor Meighan throws the book at her and she gets a three years in the joint.

In his autobiography Cecil B. DeMille mentions two things of note about Manslaughter. First he paid great tribute to the stunt driving insofar as staging the scenes of the speeding and the accident. Secondly he recounts how in order to get some atmosphere for the film, his screenwriter and sometimes mistress Jeanie Macpherson got herself arrested on a bogus charge and spent three days in lockup. After three days she figured she had enough atmosphere to tell her tale. It worked because the prison scenes are the best part of the film.

There's also a nice performance her by Lois Wilson who plays Joy's maid who steals from her mistress to get her sick son Michael Moore to a warm climate as the doctor prescribes. She winds up in the same joint as Joy and gives her a life's lesson.

The ending though is maudlin and quite unbelievable. I'll say not a word there.

Looking back on it now one has to remember that the Volstead Act took effect on New Year's Day 1920. As Manslaughter came out in 1922 the events told in this film could not possibly have happened in that two year period. That sort of dampens any enjoyment one might get out of Manslaughter.

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