Silent movie heroine? You mean those fainting damsels in distress? The ones imperiled by locomotives and buzzsaws?
Guess what, darlings? You’ve been lied to. Silent movie heroines are awesome.
Sure, some silent movies had damsels and fridged women but there were many titles with amazing, empowered heroines. (Could it be connected to the fact that about half the screenwriters were women, as opposed to only 15% today? Naw!)
This post is my contribution to the Things I Learned from the Movies Blogathon hosted by Speakeasy and Silver Screenings.
The films may be silent but they don’t suffer in silence
Flora Finch in The Cat and the Canary (1927).
And don’t think you can win them over with your mushy old “chivalry”
Florence Lawrence in The Taming of the Shrew (1908). (This version of the tale cuts most of the sexism in favor of slapstick.)
If any hands need kissing, they will attend to that themselves
Agda Nilsson in The Merry Jail (1917).
But they are perfectly happy to outsource their murders
Geraldine Farrar in Carmen (1915).
If they don’t know something already, they’ll do their research and find out
Baby Peggy in Captain January (1924).
They’re more than willing to help save the day
Blanche Sweet in The Captive (1915).
Or take on the villain single-handed
Mary Pickford in Sparrows (1926).
And they don’t mind taking the lead in romance
Pola Negri in The Wildcat (1921).
Just don’t get between them and their wine
Edith Roberts in Saturday Night (1922).
And they may steal your lunch
Vivian Martin in The Wishing Ring (1914).
They’ll tell you off and look amazing doing it
Clara Bow in Mantrap (1926)
Damsels? Ha! Here’s to the real heroines of silent film!
Enid Bennett in The Woman in the Suitcase (1920).