Dear Movies Silently, Why do silent movie have so many women tied to the railroad tracks?

Welcome to another new series! As you may know, silent movies have a lot of myths attached to them. Why? One of the main reasons is that some so-called experts talk about them and write about them without actually watching very many of them. The tied to the railroad tracks cliche is an excellent example of what I mean. Even normally reliable commentators use it as an example of the corniness and sexism of the silents.

This calls for some debunking! And Women’s History Month seemed to be the perfect time to do it. Let’s make this the year this myth dies.

If you want to read more about this cliche, you can check out my article on the cliche itself and the actors who are attached to it. You can also read my tribute to the fearless women of silent film here.

8 Replies to “Dear Movies Silently, Why do silent movie have so many women tied to the railroad tracks?”

    1. Yes indeed! The narrative of the damsel in distress as not nearly so tidy as we are led to believe.

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