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"TRAIL OF THE LAW" (1924)  35mm BFI

 

Directed by Oscar Apfel, and starring Norma Shearer and John Morse. The print is courtesy of the BFI.

 

This event will be presented by Kevin Brownlow.

The main feature is a rare 35mm screening of Trail of the Law (192), directed by Oscar Apfel, and starring Norma Shearer and John Morse. The print is courtesy of the BFI.

 

Kevin writes: “Trail of the Law is directed by the pioneer who taught DeMille when he co-directed his first feature in Hollywood, The Squaw Man (1914). (This has the same cameraman, Alfred Gandolfi). He also directed the innovative The Passer-By (1912). Apfel’s talents deteriorated severely and by the 20s he was working for poverty row outfits. However, this film does feature Norma Shearer early in her career. Variety 31 Jan 1924 says ‘Pictorial excellence, adequate direction, good acting and a story very thin, about sums up Trail of the Law, an Oscar Apfel feature good enough for the minor half of the average double bill. It features Norma Shearer, undoubtedly a comer and Wilfred Lytell, announced as due to arrive for some time, but who never seems to be able to overtake his older brother [Bert].’ They describe the plot and add ‘That’s all there is to the plot, and it can be seen that the brain is not seriously taxed keeping up with it… Miss Shearer is cute and appealing, even in trousers and cap, but the usual imagination is needed to conceive of her palming herself off as a boy.’”

 

A programme of silent shorts precedes the main film.

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