Scandal! Two Films by Lois Weber
Lois Weber (1879-1939) was the most celebrated woman director, screenwriter, and producer in Hollywood during the silent era. Known for progressive social dramas like Where Are My Children? (Weber and Phillips Smalley, 1916), Shoes (Weber and Phillips Smalley, 1916), and The Blot (Weber, 1921), Weber believed that films were "living newspapers" that could reflect on contemporary debates about the living conditions of the working class, contraception, and women's place in the institution of marriage, among others. More consistently than the films of her peers D.W. Griffith and Cecil B. DeMille, Weber's work demonstrates the power of cinema to bring social change through engaging and provocative stories, powerful mise-en-scène, and complex female characters. "I think the young women of this country today want to be individuals and have freedom of thought and action," Weber once said. "They have brains and character. That is the kind of girl I am going to show in my story."
Scandal Mongers (1915/1918) looks at the damaging effects of gossip as a stenographer and her boss are embroiled in a salacious media frenzy, and Sensation Seekers (1927) follows a scandal-prone socialite as she alternates between dancing the night away in sleazy speakeasies and seeking redemption in the church.
(Lois Weber, 1915/18 & 1927, 110 min., DCP, courtesy of the Library of Congress)
Curated by Aurore Spiers (CMS) as part of the Film Studies Center's Graduate Student Curatorial Program.
Pianist and composer David Drazin is a music and motion picture archivist who has acquired a national reputation for his piano improvisations accompanying silent films. Drazin received his Bachelor of Music in Jazz Studies from Ohio State University. An accomplished performer, he moves easily from dramatic classical to lively jazz styles, boogie-woogie and blues, original novelty works, and Harlem stride piano.