Pioneers: Dorothy Davenport (Part 2)

1925, 77 minutes, Digital

Director: Dorothy Davenport and Walter Lang

Distributor: Kino Lorber

Feature Film:
The Red Kimona

Writer, producer, director, and actress Dorothy Davenport made a splash in the 1920s with a string of socially conscious, taboo-shattering exposés, including this ripped-from-the-headlines shocker about a woman forced into a life of prostitution. Davenport herself said: “I believe it takes a woman to believe in a woman’s motives, and every story intended for the screen should have a woman working on it at some stage to convince the audience of women.”

This excellent tinted copy also features the selective use of red-colored objects, including the titular garment that serves as the emblem of the heroine’s scarlet past. Davenport based the film on a true story and even used the subject’s real name, leading to a ruinous invasion-of-privacy suit.

“A gripping account of not only Gabrielle’s plight, beautifully evoked by [Priscilla] Bonner, but of the social hypocrisies which kept women like Gabrielle forever tainted a fallen woman.”
— Felicia Feaster, TCM

Series sponsored by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.