“Lois Weber was the most successful of all the women directors in the first quarter of the 20th century and, at the time, was placed alongside the likes of D.W. Griffith and Cecil B. DeMille as the major innovative forces in filmmaking.” IndieWire

“When the shoes became too worn to endure a third soling and she possessed but 90 cents toward a new pair, she gave up the struggle; to use her own contemptuous phrase, she ‘sold out for a new pair of shoes.’” — A New Conscience for an Ancient Evil by Jane Addams

“Pavlova’s artistry is something that we are often asked to take on faith, something where you had to be there. Watching The Dumb Girl, you are there!” The New Yorker


The Dumb Girl of Portici (1916)
​Restored by the Library of Congress and Lori Raskin
USA, 1916 • Directed by Lois Weber and Phillips Smalley.

SHOES (1916)
​Restored by EYE Filmmuseum, Netherlands
USA, 1916 • Directed by Lois Weber and Phillips Smalley.


To celebrate the 100th anniversary of two of Lois Weber's most important films, Milestone Films will be bringing out restored versions of both SHOES and THE DUMB GIRL OF PORTICI. Working with the Netherland's EYE Filmmuseum, the Library of Congress, archivist Lori Raskin and composers Donald Sosin and John Sweeney, these films will be seen in theaters and then on DVD and Blu-ray. The small but magnificent ensemble SHOES, with Weber's star discovery Mary MacLaren was released the same year as her epic blockbuster THE DUMB GIRL OF PORTICI featuring the legendary dancer, Anna Pavlova. The two films show brilliantly the tremendous range Weber had as a film director.

THE DUMB GIRL OF PORTICI - In the early 20th century, no woman had greater worldwide fame than ballet dancer and choreographer Anna Pavlova. Unlike movie actresses, whose celebrity spread with the international distribution of their films, Pavlova’s renown had to be earned theater by theater, performance by performance. Her legendary art was, by its nature, ephemeral. Still, no one traveled farther or worked harder than this slight daughter of a Russian laundress.

SHOES - Eva Meyer is poor shop girl working at a five-and-dime. She is the sole wage earner for three younger sisters, a mother who struggles to hold everything together, and a father who prefers beer and penny dreadfuls to work. Each week, Eva returns to her cold-water flat and dutifully hands over her meager earnings to her mother. But her wages barely cover the grocer’s bill and cannot provide for decent clothing. With only cardboard to patch the holes in the soles of her shoes, Eva’s life becomes harder with each rainy day and every splinter. In constant pain and with no solution in sight, the disheartened girl considers the uninvited advances of Charlie, a cad with clearly dishonorable intentions.

Acting as star, choreographer, producer, and boss of a large dance company constantly touring the globe, Pavlova was a consummate artist and a canny businesswoman. A generation marveled and cherished the memory of her scintillating brilliance on stage. The restoration of The Dumb Girl of Portici — with the dazzling new score by dance and silent film composer John Sweeney — will give today’s audiences a chance to experience the energy, the expressive face, and the grace of the great Pavlova.


Week of October 20th - 26th

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