Hail the Woman (1921)

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This drama, produced by Thomas Ince, featured an excellent cast and a powerful story. Although she only had a second lead, Madge Bellamy felt her role was the best one she was ever given. Oliver Beresford (top character actor Theodore Roberts) is a bigoted, chauvinistic, New England farmer. His son David, who is studying for the ministry (Lloyd Hughes), lives in fear of him. Because he shies away from his father's disapproval, he secretly marries Nan Higgins (Bellamy), the daughter of an "odd jobs man" (Tully Marshall -- another great character actor of the silent screen). The elder Beresford discovers that Nan is expecting, and that David is the father, but Nan protects her weak-willed husband by steadfastly refusing to reveal their marriage. As a result, Oliver buys off Nan's father, who beats her and casts her from his home. Nan travels up to New York where she becomes a prostitute after the child is born. The cowardly David remains silent. David's sister, Judith (Florence Vidor), sticks up for Nan, and Oliver drives her from his home. She encounters Nan in New York, and takes care of the child after Nan's death. Nan had revealed her marriage to Judith before she died, and Judith decides that her brother must clear Nan's name. She returns to New England on the day that David is to be ordained, and confronts him with the child in front of the congregation. Filled with remorse, David confesses all and accepts the child.



baby, brother, daughter, death, family, girlfriend, independence, pregnancy, Puritan, tyrant, woman, women's-issues, zealot