The Inside of the White Slave Traffic
R: Frank Beal. D: Edwin Carewe, Jean Thomas, Virginia Mann. P: Moral Feature Film Co. USA 1913
Print: Library of Congress
“This early exploitation film, produced under the guise of a reformist social drama, has garnered a somewhat exaggerated reputation over the years. While The Inside of the White Slave Traffic (1913) is populated with the early 20th century versions of pimps and prostitutes, they are present by knowing implication rather than by overt expression. As would be expected, whether in modern or contemporary times, the salaciousness of the film exists far more in the mind than in the reality of the action.
While surviving prints of the film are spare of plot, we can reasonably assume that there originally was more substance to the tale of this four-reel feature film.
We love the documentary quality of the scenes that were shot on the streets of New York City. The people are those of the neighborhood, with daytime bustling around them, elevated trains, and rows of businesses. Shots of storefronts invite close scrutiny of signage and products that were commonplace then and a historical curiosity now. Now and again, one’s attention may be spirited away by examination of a gate railing or a chewing gum dispenser, no longer manufactured in its fashion and rarely seen today in its original historical context.”