Fun Size Review: Suspense (1913)

Lois Weber directed and starred in this story of a woman staying by herself in an isolated house when a vagrant attempts to break in. She calls for help on the telephone just before the wires are cut. Will help arrive in time?

The plot was old in 1913, a Grand Guignol trope if there ever was one, but Weber’s stylish direction breathes new life into the “telephone for help as the wicked tramp breaks in” trope. Interesting angles and compositions plus triptychs of simultaneous action make this one of the finest dramatic shorts of the silent era.

How does it end? Hover or tap below for a spoiler.

The husband steals a car, which attracts the attention of the police, and everyone arrives in the TA-DA nick of time.

Read my full-length review here in which I discuss the telephone trope’s origins and the debate about whether or not Lon Chaney appears in this picture.

If it were a dessert it would be: Two-Bite Peanut Butter Cup Brownies. Sure, the flavors aren’t groundbreaking but the presentation is.

Availability: Released on DVD and Bluray as part of the Early Women Filmmakers box set from Flicker Alley. You can also find it in the box set Saved from the Flames.


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