Best Drama Movies of 1915
The Birth of a Nation
Two families, abolitionist Northerners the Stonemans and Southern landowners the Camerons, intertwine. When Confederate colonel Ben Cameron is captured in battle, nurse Elsie Stoneman petitions for his pardon. In Reconstruction-era South Carolina, Cameron founds the Ku Klux Klan, battling Elsie's congressman father and his African-American protégé, Silas Lynch.
At 10 years old, Owen becomes a ragged orphan when his mother dies. Abusive next-door neighbors the Conways take him in, and by 17, Owen has learned that might is right. At 25, he's a career gangster: loitering, gambling and drinking in dens of iniquity. Marie Deering arrives in Owen's area, eager to empower the impoverished, gang-affiliated youth through education. Owen slowly but surely leaves his old life behind, choosing the narrow path- all the while falling in love with Marie. Skinny, who's taken over Owen's role in the gang, reappears to him, spelling trouble.
A venal, spoiled stockbroker's wife impulsively embezzles $10,000 from the charity she chairs and desperately turns to a Burmese ivory trader to replace the stolen money.
Seamen Enoch Arden returns home after a long absence marooned on a desert island. At home he finds his wife married to another, and though he loves her, he cannot bear to disrupt her current happiness.
Children of Eve
CHILDREN OF EVE (1915; dir: John Collins) is most famous today for its detailed reenactment of the tragic fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in 1911, which had become a symbol of unsafe working conditions and capital's apparent disregard for labor. Viola Dana stars as an illegitimate child of the slums who labors in an oppressive canning company, not realizing she has a significant connection to the cold-hearted factory owner. This special edition includes outtake footage of the sensational fire scene, for which the Edison Studios set an actual four-story factory ablaze.
Fanchon, the Cricket
A young wild girl, Fanchon, lives in a forest with her eccentric grandmother who is suspected by the villagers of being a witch. The unkempt Fanchon suffers from her grandmother's sorceress reputation. One day the girl rescues a boy from drowning and they fall in love, but Fanchon won't agree to marry him unless his father asks her. A year later the boy has fallen very ill and it is only the presence of the enchanting Fanchon that helps to restore his health.
Cecil B. DeMille’s thought-to-be-lost 1915 silent film The Captive, is a found treasure. Set during the Balkan Wars, The Captive tells the story of Sonia (Blanche Sweet, The Woman in White), a young woman living in Montenegro and left to care for her younger brother Milos (Gerald Ward, The Warrens of Virginia) and the family farm when older brother Marko (Page Peters, Davy Crockett) goes off to battle. Unable to handle the day-to-day tasks following her brother’s tragic death, help comes in the form of Mahmud Hassan (House Peters, Prisoners of the Storm) a captured Turk nobleman now a prisoner of war. Tasked with helping Sonia, their initial frosty relationship soon melts into love. As the war rages on Sonia, Mahmud and Milos will face near-insurmountable obstacles in their quest for a better life amidst the hell of war.
The story of St. Gabriel, who was killed by an ignorant mob for making a nude statue representing Purity, who is also represented by a ghostly naked girl that flits through the film.
Alias Jimmy Valentine
After robbing a bank, a criminal is wrongfully pardoned from prison.
Hot-blooded gypsy Carmen attempts to seduce Don Jose, a lawman sent to thwart a gang of illegal smugglers in Spain. Carmen's plan backfires when Don Jose's passion for the gypsy girl escalates into a jealous rage as she spurns him for her bullfighter beau, Escamillo, with tragic results.