Suffragettes Satire

A Suffragette in Spite of Himself
R: Ashley Miller. B: Bannister Merwin. D: Marc McDermott, Miriam Nesbitt, Ethel Browning. P: Edison Company. USA 1912
Filming Locations: London, England

“Edison’s 1912 comedy, A Suffragette in Spite of Himself, could possibly be interpreted as a pro-suffrage film, but it maintains a noncommittal comedic tone throughout. Filmed in London, the scene of some of the most notorious Votes for Women protests, the story follows a strongly anti-suffrage man who, as the result of a practical joke, finds himself treated as a militant suffragette. The main figures of fun here are not the suffragettes, but those who passionately hate them. But historian Shelley Stamp points out that the film ‘suggests that being a feminist in public is quite a different thing from being a man in public.'”
Lucy Laird
SF Silent Film Festival Blog

Milling the Militants: A Comical Absurdity
R: Percy Stow. P: Clarendon. UK 1913
Print: BFI National Archive

“A comedy commenting on the tactics of suffragettes and the action that some men would like to take against them. Mr Brown is left to look after the family while his wife takes part in a suffragette demonstration and militant action. He dreams that, as prime minister, he introduces legislation to suppress the suffragette movement and punishes them accordingly. In spite of it being a comedy the suffragette march looks particularly authentic with banners and onlookers. The tactics of the suffragettes such as smashing windows and arson are shown. From 1905 the suffragettes had become increasingly militant and the film reflects this militancy.
Initial viewing suggests that this is an anti-suffrage film. However, it can be viewed another way. Some of the punishments are decidedly medieval and exaggerated. The obvious discomfort of the women during their punishments could elicit sympathy from an audience. Furthermore, the ducking stool is associated with witchcraft and medieval punishment (as are the village stocks) and it could be argued that neither punishment had a place in a modern society. In spite of all his dreams of punishment, Mr Brown suffers when his wife returns as she awakens him with a bucket of cold water.”
Simon Baker
Screen online

A Lively Affair
R: Unknown. D: Mabel Van Buren, Lucie K. Villa. P: Unknown. USA 1912

This short film recently restored and included in the compilation “Treasures III: Social Issues in American Film, 1900-1934” has not been fully identified. Experts suggest that may be a Warner or Selig production.