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The Woman Suffers ...

The Woman Suffers (Raymond Longford, 1918) ... While the Man Goes Free; Lottie Lyell, Boyd Irwin, Roland Conway, Connie Martyn


I'd seen some bits of The Sentimental Bloke, but now, for the first time, I’ve seen a ‘whole’ Raymond Longford film – with the indispensable Lottie Lyell. It’s The Woman Suffers (1918). There’s only 2/3 extant, and what’s left has suffered badly from nitrate decay … but I found it quite appropriate for a modern sensibility: we ‘fast forwarded’ through boring bits, with the aid of cards (intertitles); and the bits where the colours went weird vaguely reminded me of that thing they do in Sin City that ends in ‘scope’: um, rotoscope. So I thought it was kewl.

'The woman suffers...while the man goes free.' To illustrate this tragic irony, the story takes the concept of primitive justice - an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth - and extends it to a sister for a sister. Ralph Manton discovers that his sister, Marjory, has been seduced and, swearing vengeance, he demands to be told the name of the man. Faithful to her lover, she refuses, but later Ralph discovers his identity and goes to confront him. The tables are then turned, for the man is none other than Phillip Masters, whose sister had been seduced by Ralph years before. Phillip reveals that he had seduced Marjory in calculated revenge for the ruin of his own sister and his family name. Pike & Cooper: 77-78.

Garry Gillard | New: 25 October, 2012 | Now: 26 November, 2019