This wonderful Western is an action satire about an East Coast millionaire who decides to relive his youth as a miner in the '49 Gold Rush by hiring a troupe of actors to recreate an old western town. Director/writer Ruth Ann Baldwin, who is virtually unknown, was a journalist and highly successful screenwriter before getting her first chance to direct in 1915.
Ruth Ann Baldwin was a journalist who joined Universal as a screenwriter in 1913. She wrote for the serial The Black Box in 1915, did a stint as an editor, and was tapped by the studio to direct. 49-17 is a charming and suspenseful western parody about a millionaire who hires a wild west theatrical troupe to relive his past as a miner forty niner. Every sacred western cow is turned on its ear: the patriarchal representative of the law, the Young Man, the Gambler, the saloon brawl, and the Woman. Jean Hersholt gives a powerful performance early in his notable career as the taciturn desperado. Despite the success of 49-17, Baldwin’s career as director was over by 1920.
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"Provides a rare opportunity to see some of the greatest films helmed by early Hollywood’s intrepid women... filling in the blanks of the past and reclaiming the medium’s forgotten stories."
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"...an essential piece of film history, and engaging viewing besides."
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Directed by Alice Guy-Blaché, Lois Weber, Helen Holmes, Mabel Normand, Grace Cunard and Dorothy Davenport Reid