The Girl Detective
R: James W. Horne. B: Hamilton Smith. D: Ruth Roland, Cleo Ridgely, Marin Sais. P: Kalem Company. USA 1915
Print: EYE collection
“Ruth Roland called her films ‘high class fairy tales’. She first came to the public’s notice as an armchair sleuth in 1915’s The Girl Detective, but she had her real breakout success thanks to a 14-part supernatural serial called The Red Circle which cast her as a young woman cursed with a strange scarlet mark on her hand that compels her to commit crimes. Audiences ate up the good/bad duality of the character, and their admiration turned Ruth into a superstar.
A savvy businesswoman, she used her newfound success wisely, starting her own Ruth Roland Serials, Inc. and cranking out a new hit series, The Adventures of Ruth. Here she was a fearless heiress trying to solve the murder of her father. ‘I wrote the story and personally supervised the taking of every scene’, she promised her adoring public. She followed up that hit with more serials like White Eagle and The Timber Queen, and The Haunted Valley. When she finally retired from the screen, she was a rich woman. According to silent film historian Larry Telles, she eventually starred in 164 serial episodes.”
Jake Hinkson: Serial Queens of the Silent Era: The First Female Action Heroes