The Mills of the Gods
R: Ralph Ince. B: George P. Dillenback (story). D: L. Rogers Lytton, Leo Delaney, Rosemary Theby, Zena Keefe, Tefft Johnson, Adele DeGarde. P: Vitagraph Company of America. USA 1912
Between around 1880 and 1924, more than four million Italians immigrated to the United States, half of them between 1900 and 1910 alone. It’s fair to say that this was reflected in American literature and cinema not only because it was topical but also because, especially in the case of cinema, immigrants were a large portion, if not the majority, of movie-goers. Thus, in the early 1910’s we have films such as The Adventures of Lieutenant Petrosino (1912), about an Italian-American police officer who fights organized crime in New York City, and numerous films about the Black Hand, an Italian extortion racket. This Vitagraph production is based on a novel of the same title by George P. Dillenbeck, (c. 1880-1917). The novel was reissued in 1912 including stills from the movie, which was Ralph Ince’s first three-reel “feature” film. At this time longer films began to dominate the market. By 1915 over 600 feature films were produced annually in the United States. Oviously, the story takes place in Italy – there is a mention of the Lake of Como and of traveling to Turin. A wealthy landowner, Lorenzo, causes a waitress, Giulia, to lose her job when she refuses his advances. Miguel, who witnesses the incident, gives her shelter, they marry and a daughter is born. Lorenzo, however, over a period of ten years and more, does all he can to destroy Miguel’s happiness.
Based on David Bond’s text on YouTube
>>> The Black Hand
>>> The Adventures of Lieutenant Petrosino
>>> The Italian