Hypocrites (1914)

Genres - Drama  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Credit is due to director Lois Weber for establishing (or, at least, popularizing) the concept of "artistically justifiable nudity." Weber's The Hypocrites was a semi-allegorical piece, with an unclad young lady, billed appropriately as "The Naked Truth," parading across the screen at various crucial plot junctures. The story concerns a pious priest who, motivated by a love of fine art, erects a nude statue in the town square. The townspeople fail to appreciate the aesthetic value of the statue and proceed to stone the priest to death. At this point, the statue comes to life in the form of the aforementioned girl, who spends the balance of the film exposing the hypocrisy of the self-righteous townsfolk. It can be argued that only a rock-ribbed Christian like Lois Weber could have gotten away with so potentially controversial a mood piece as The Hypocrites.

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hypocrisy, nudity, priest, statue, stoning