Morman Maid, A

1475. A MORMON MAID (1957-USA). WITH mae murray, frank borzage, Hobart bosworth, NOAH BEERY. Directed by ROBERTZ. LEONARD.”CECIL B. DEMILLE: Director General.” A stark, atmospheric “expose” of Mormon life and rituals-including the practice of forced polygamy-during the mid-19th Century Audiences found it shocking back in 1917; today, it remains no less controversial and fascinating. Clearly, the film is inspired by Griffith’s The Birth of a Nation; it is epic in scope, and chronicles a period in American history, it’s crammed with panoramic scenes and beautifully detailed battle sequences; it offers a sweet-faced hero, an a fluttery heroine; finally, characters are even garbed in Ku Klux Klan-type attire. The time is 1848, and Mormon pioneers are heading West, toward Utah and the Salt Lake colony. Mae Murray, affectionately known as “The Girl With the Bee Stung Lips”Ñand who was then married to director Robert Z. Leonard -stars as a desirable young woman named Dora. Two men become infatuated with her. One is a Mormon convert, Tom Rigdon (Frank Borzage who was later to become an Academy Award-winning director). The other is Darius Burr, a church elder who is clearly no pious role model. Dora and Tom become betrothed, yet Burr connives to add her to his bevy of wives. This film is especially distinguished by its stunning, occasionally luminous photography, by pioneer cinematographs CHARLES ROSHER. “Silent” film with original organ score, correct projection speed. 75 minutes. ÒSilentÓ Drama