Flick Friday: The Roman 1910

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The Roman 1910 Image One
Image Credit: imdb.com & amazon.com

One hundred, ten years ago, the silent, black & white short film The Roman was released. Directed by Francis Boggs and written by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, it starred Hobart Bosworth, Betty Harte, Robert Z. Leonard and Tom Santschi. It was filmed at the studios of the Selig Polyscope Company.

The Moving Picture World (January-June 1910 Archive):

Perhaps the most attractive feature of this picture is the reproduction of early Roman costumes and Roman surroundings. It is a story of political intrigue, with all the contests and disagreeable features, connected therewith in the ancient city. But, the reproduction of manners and customs and, the historically correct scenery and settings, add immensely to the interest and, insure attention when, perhaps, the mere political story would scarcely be considered. The greatest service the motion picture can do is in the direction of educating the people, and a film like this, which faithfully illustrates long past and, perhaps, partially forgotten life, is of vast importance and, deserves a cordial reception. The Selig players have brought enthusiasm to their work and, have put much ability and life into the interpretation of this play.

American Film Institute (AFI) History:

This film may have been based on the 1835 novel Rienzi, the Last of the Tribunes, by Edward Bulgar-Lytton [sic]. An advertisement in the [February] 19, 1910, Film Index billed Bosworth above the title, “Hobart Bosworth in The Roman,” and labeled the movie “Film De Art of the Classics,” declaring: “Its teachings are based upon the scriptures and traditions of the early history of the eternal city.” The advertisement also suggested that theater owners book The Roman as a “Special Lenten Picture.”

A young woman [orders] her girl slave to deposit in the waters of the Tiber a child which she has cause to be rid of. The infant is found by one of the aristocracy and adopted. In later years she is betrothed but, just before the wedding, the ruler of the land claims the young woman, on the ground that she was born in slavery. By military force, she is torn from the arms of her foster father and taken to the ruling house where she is held captive for only a few hours, as the father and young lover, have aroused a popular rebellion which overthrows the ruler, end[ing] in his death and the defeat of his defenders. (Variety February 19, 1910)

One Trivia Bit:
♦ Per [Hobart] Bosworth, first picture made at Selig’s (Studio at 1845 Allesandro Street, now Glendale Blvd.) in the Edendale (now Silver Lake) plant of Los Angeles.

[There was not much written about this film and no video clip(s). The image, above, doesn’t seem to jive with the TCM synopsis. But, that is all I could find.

Addendum: I continued to dig and found the, above, write-ups via the Internet Archive database and AFI. Turner Classic Movies synopsis was WAY off. ~Vic]

5 thoughts on “Flick Friday: The Roman 1910

    bereavedandbeingasingleparent said:
    February 15, 2020 at 4:01 AM

    That looks so cool. Love these little glimpses of the past. Got to make sure they are not forgotten.

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      February 15, 2020 at 12:49 PM

      Even though it is not noted anywhere, I suspect this is a lost film. I stumbled across a few lines of text on AFI that indicated 80 to 90 percent of the old, silent, black and whites are gone.

    badfinger20 said:
    February 16, 2020 at 2:43 AM

    Some of those silent films were really authentic. It looks like this one was one of them.
    When Buster Keaton made The General…about an event in the Civil War…he said he wanted so authentic it hurt…Some say it was the closest someone would ever get to seeing what it looked like during the Civil War.

      The Hinoeuma responded:
      February 16, 2020 at 2:18 PM

      I guess it all depends upon money, intent & integrity. Low budget films look…low budget, like early sci-fi.

      Was The General a silent short or a longer talkie?

        badfinger20 said:
        February 16, 2020 at 4:08 PM

        The General was a full silent movie…not a short. It had the most expensive shot in Silent Movie history in it. I would recommend the film to anyone. It’s one of the few silent films that are the best movies of all time list.
        Here is the scene.

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