The Dumb Girl of Portici

Loading the player ...

USA | 1916 | 115 minutes | Lois Weber

In the early 20th century, superstar ballerina Anna Pavlova and film pioneer Lois Weber collaborated on this epic romance, the first blockbuster film from a female director. Missing for nearly a century, the original cut of this groundbreaking film now returns in a new restoration.

"A must-see combination of frivolity, drama, politics, and art"--Julia Raban, The Stranger

Saturday, June 3, 2017

  • Purchased Tickets
  • Limited Availability
  • On Standby
  • Matinee

SIFF Cinema Uptown

11:30 AM Date has passed LLimited Availability

Two of the most iconic and talented women of the 20th century, Lois Weber and Anna Pavlova, teamed up to create this romantic silent drama. Shot in 1915 and recently restored, The Dumb Girl of Portici follows the love affair of the mute Fenella, a poor Italian girl, and her lover, the wealthy Spanish aristocrat Alphonso. In her only starring role in film, prima ballerina Pavlova (1881-1931) portrays Fenella. Gesturing with her whole body, her graceful dominance commands the screen to the point that the audience is almost grateful for the lack of dialogue; any distraction from her performance would be criminal. Weber (1879-1939), a pioneering auteur and arguably the most powerful woman director in film history, simultaneously captures the intimacy of an illicit love affair and the war and chaos stirred by it. The Dumb Girl of Portici  showcases the extreme responsibility each woman takes on in regards to her craft. Together they created a film that asserts its significance over a century after its creation.

Director Biography

"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."—Cari Beauchamp, IndieWire

Sponsored by The Seattle Times

  • Director: Lois Weber
  • Principal Cast: Anna Pavlova, Rupert Julian, Wadsworth Harris, Douglas Gerrard, Jack Holt
  • Premiere Status: Seattle
  • Country: USA
  • Year: 1916
  • Running Time: 115 minutes
  • Producer: Carl Laemmle, Lois Weber
  • Screenplay: Lois Weber
  • Cinematographers: L.D. Clawson, Allen G. Siegler, R.W. Walters
  • Music: Lois Weber
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Filmography: WEBER: White Heat (1934); The Angel of Broadway (1927); Sensation Seeker (1927); The Blot (1921) ; Suspense (1913); Shadows of Life (1913); SMALLEY: Forbidden (1919); For Husbands Only (1918); Wanted: A Home (1916); The Eye of God (1916)
  • Language: English
  • Format: DCP
  • US Distributor: Milestone Films