EYE - knipselkrant: Shoes (1916)

De verloren gewaande kopie werd begin jaren negentig teruggevonden in de archieven van het Nederlands Filmmuseum (nu EYE Film Instituut Nederland).

Verenigde Staten, 1916, zw/w, 35mm, 57 min (5 akten).
Productie: Universal Bluebird Photoplays. Producent: Lois Weber, Phillips Smalley. Regie: Lois Weber. Scenario: Lois Weber (geïnspireerd op o.a. een artikel van Stella Wynne Herron in Collier's Magazine). Camera: Stephen Norton, King Gray, Allen G. Siegler.
Met: Mary MacLaren (hier genoteerd als Mary MacDonald) (Eva Myer/ Emma Meyer), Harry Griffith (vader), Jessie Arnold (Lillie), William Mong (Charlie).
Premièredatum NL: 26 juni 1916. Keuringsdatum NL: 2 juni 1916 (LP8408)
Nederlandse titel: Mislukte levens / Schoentjes. Nederlandse verhuur (oorspronkelijk): Filma (Amsterdam) / Luxor Bioscoop (directie: K. Weening, Appingedam).
Het winkelmeisje Emma Meyer draagt haar karige salaris elke week af aan haar moeder. Hiermee onderhoudt ze het hele gezin, er blijft geen geld over voor de aanschaf van felbegeerde nieuwe schoenen. Haar werkloze vader verdoet zijn tijd met het lezen van romannetjes. Emma raakt wanhopig als ze ziet hoe een collegaatje wel goed gekleed gaat, dankzij de attenties van de louche cabaret-artiest Charlie. Emma wordt ziek doordat ze met haar kapotte schoenen door de regen loopt. Uiteindelijk zwicht ze voor de verleiding en zoekt ze Charlie op in het cabaret 'The Blue Goose'. De volgende avond gaat ze naar een 'Flat for rent' met de bedoeling zich te prostitueren om zo eindelijk de lang begeerde schoenen te kunnen kopen.
Bron: databank EYE
“The heroine, working-girl Eve Meyer (Mary McLaren), is unable to afford a new pair of shoes on her meager wages. After several frustrating weeks of trying to scrimp and save, Eve is reduced to selling herself sexually for the sake of the shoes. She comes to regret this decision, bitterly ruminating over "what might have been" during the film's somber closing scenes.”
Shelly Stamp, Presenting The Smalleys, ‘Collaborators in Authorship and Direction’, in: Film History: An International Journal, vol 18, no 2 (2006) pp 119-128.
Abstract: “This study analyses the discourse surrounding celebrity portraits of Lois Weber and her husband and collaborator, Phillips Smalley, arguing that metaphors of marital harmony that sought to explain the couple's creative partnership ultimately could not contain the challenges their working relationship presented to dominant models of gender relations. Significant though Weber's films were, the director's elevated reputation had as much to do with the kinds of pictures she made, as it did with the type of woman she presented herself to be – married, matronly, and decidedly middle-class.”
Shelley Stamp, ‘Lois Weber, Progressive Cinema, and the Fate of "The Work-a-Day Girls" in Shoes’, in: Camera Obscura vol 19, nr.2 (2004) pp.140-169.
“Working at Universal in the mid-1910s, where she garnered enormous respect and substantial creative control, Weber wrote and directed a series of ambitious features on highly topical, often deeply contentious, social issues of the day—including drug addiction, capital punishment, religious intolerance, and contraception. Though she would later distance herself from what she called the "heavy dinners" she produced at Universal, Weber was, for a time, at the forefront of progressive filmmaking in America, foremost among a host of filmmakers who sought to use cinema as a kind of living newspaper, capable of bringing discussions of complicated cultural questions to life.”

Zie ook:
International news letters of EYE Film Institute Netherlands, Summer 2011
“The restoration in 2011 of Lois Weber’s SHOES is based on three different source materials: Two tinted nitrate copies from the collection of EYE Film Institute Netherlands (1150m and 85m) and one safety print from a shortened sound version called UNSHOD MAIDEN from 1932 (280m), held by the Library of Congress. The nitrate prints are affected by bacteria resulting in many white spots all over the images and severe nitrate deterioration.
In the short sound version, the left edge of the image is cut off by the soundtrack. However, this print contains some short but important scenes, especially in the crucial last reel of the print. These are now reinserted to the film in order to reconstruct the most complete version.
The edited material is then scanned for digital restoration. The images are stabilized and most of the bacterial spots are removed to allow a calmer viewing experience.
The only available intertitles were the ones in the Dutch print. These are translated and digitally recreated, using the font of the Dutch titles as a reference. Finally, a black and white negative is recorded back to film, from which the new color print is struck, using the Desmet method, simulating the tints of the nitrate print.”
“The digital restoration of the Lois Weber film Shoes (USA, 1916) will premiere at Il Cinema Ritrovato Festival 2011. Although Shoes was photo-chemically duplicated back in 1990, severe bacterial infection of the nitrate print and other signs of emulsion decay made EYE consider a digital restoration attempt this time. The result, also including some missing footage from the abridged 35mm sound re-issue print held at the Library of Congress, is a more complete and less visually flawed version. Of course, where the emulsion was already gone, nothing could be done to repair the damage.
The new version is a Desmet color print and uses the tints of the Dutch vintage print, and has newly inserted English inter-titles. On June 26th 2011 Shoes will be accompanied live by Maud Nelissen. Shortly after the premiere at Il Cinema Ritrovato festival the film will be presented at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival on July 17th.”
Timothy Warren, in: The Wayback Film Journal.
URL: http://waybackfilmjournal.wordpress.com/2011/10/11/shoes-lois-weber-1916-and-the-progressive-era/
“There are many progressive-era concerns at play here: wages and workers rights, living conditions of the working classes, consumerism and its effects on the working classes (especially young women), and, most obviously, prostitution. The film is careful to keep the focus on these issues as they relate to young working-class women, however, by omitting the main concern of progressive reformers: alcoholism.
Eva’s plight is accentuated by her father’s unemployment, which is portrayed as being caused not by alcoholism, as one would expect, but by simple laziness.  Progressives saw a father’s alcoholism as a central cause of poverty: it made him unfit for work and he spent too much of  the family’s meager savings on drink.  However, Eva’s father simply does not want to work.  He spends his days at home or in the park, and spends the little bit of extra money that the family has (money that could have gone to purchasing a new pair of shoes for Eva) on books.
It might seem odd that Weber chose not to include alcoholism in the narrative, but omitting it serves two dramatic purposes.  First of all, it keeps the focus on Eva and the elements of her life that she can control.  A discourse on the evils of drink would have been a distraction.  Secondly, the father’s success in finding a job on his first attempt, the same day as his daughter’s descent into prostitution, further underscores the tragedy of the situation and puts the blame on the entire family for depending solely upon her meager wages for their subsistence.
Released at the height of the Progressive Era, Shoes is a noteworthy dramatic film that is as interesting for the issues it tackles, and owes its effectiveness to the issues it chooses to omit.”
Overige bronnen
context: meer zwijgende films over armoede.
Zie: http://bioscopic.wordpress.com/2011/06/01/poor-people/ (Luke McKernan e.a.).

Amerikaanse zwijgende films over armoede:

Weimar films