Gender Democracy

The Farmer’s Daughters
B: Lloyd F. Lonergan. D: Muriel Ostriche, Jean Darnell, Billy Noel, Nolan Gane, Justice Barnes. P: Thanhouser. USA 1913

“The Farmer’s Daughters was released September 1913 by the Thanhouser Company and was the 85th of an eventual 1030 films to be made by that company. The film stars Muriel Ostriche as May, the farmer’s younger daughter. Muriel got her start at age 15 at Biograph, then worked at American Eclair and Reliance before settling in at Thanhouser and was the advertising face of Moxie, America’s largest selling soft drink in the early 1900s. Jean Darnell plays Grace, the older sister. Justus D. Barnes plays farmer Henry Friel while the hired hands looking for wives are Billy Noel and Nolan Gane. According to Thanhouser.org, mother Friel is most likely Carey L Hastings who worked at the studio from day one to fin. The script was written by Lloyd Lonergran who was married to Gertrude Thanhouser’s sister. The studio kept it in the family better than any studio of the day.”
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“The daughters of the farmer do some very good character work fooling young college graduates who are bent on matrimony. Incidental glimpses of American farm life considerably enhance the value of the film. The one-reel light comedy was a specialty of Thanhouser, as were well-selected locations and a clever scenario. The theme of gender democracy is not unusual in Lloyd F. Lonergan’s stories. Here, the two daughters are set up against their will as sexual lures, but they turn the tables and get the best of the men. Look for an innovative pan and tilt of the camera during the scene starting at 7:45.”
Thanhouser Company Film Preservation, Inc.

“First, the company was much more prone to use panning to expand depicted space or to reframe than any other manufacturer at this time save Lubin. Most of the films that I examined had numerous pans and tilts sprinkled throughout. One also notes a somewhat more adventurous approach to camera placement in Thanhouser films than is typical, with a greater openness to angling of the camera for particular compositions. A third, related approach to space that marks the company’s output is the use of different camera set-ups to film the same space. Collectively, these stylistic tendencies mark Thanhouser as a company that demonstrates an ongoing commitment to the principle of dynamisation of space. If Griffith came to depend on a version of axial cutting for closer scaled shots, typically maintaining a marked degree of frontality, Thanhouser adopted quite a different approach.”
Charlie Keil: Narration and Authorship in the Transitional Text: Griffith, Thanhouser, and Typicality

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The Farmer's Daughters