Sidney A. Franklin

Sog.: dalla pièce omonima di George Scarborough. Scen.: Mary Murillo. F.: David Abel. Int.: Norma Talmadge (Wetona), Fred Huntley (il capo tribù Quannah), Thomas Meighan (John Hardin), Gladden James (Tony Wells), Fred Turner (il pastore David Wells), Princess Uwane Yea (Nauma), Charles Edler (il comanche Jack), White Eagle (Nipo), Black Wolf (Passequa), Black Lizard (Eagle). Prod.: Joseph M. Schenck per Norma Talmadge Film Corporation · 35mm. L.: 1990 m. D.: 87’ a 20 f/s. Bn. English intertitles

T. it.: Italian title. T. int.: International title. T. alt.: Alternative title. Sog.: Story. Scen.: Screenplay. F.: Cinematography. M.: Editing. Scgf.: Set Design. Mus.: Music. Int.: Cast. Prod.: Production Company. L.: Length. D.: Running Time. f/s: Frames per second. Bn.: Black e White. Col.: Color. Da: Print source

Film Notes

Adapted from George Scarborough’s hit Broadway production, The Heart of Wetona is an astutely crafted star vehicle. Norma Talmadge plays a half-breed, Wetona, whose Blackfoot tribe live on a reservation, overseen by government agent John Hardin. Wetona is in love with a feckless white man, and ends up marrying Hardin to protect the identity of her lover from her vengeful Indian father Quannah (a hypocritical vengeance it is too, given the ethnicity of Wetona’s unseen mother). The moral dilemmas faced by Wetona are nicely balanced in Mary Murillo’s professinal scenario, in what is a typically high-classed production from when Norma Talmadge was on the way to the peak of her popularity. Murillo started work for Norma Talmadge Film Productions in 1917 and wrote for her The Secret of the Storm Country (1917), Her Only Way (1918), The Forbidden City (1918), Yes or No (1920), The Passion Flower (1921) and The Sign on the Door (1921), with The Heart of Wetona being the first title she wrote after having been appointed as Talmadge’s leading screenwriter. If the piquant tensions that seem about to come to the fore are dropped for a predictable final confrontation between whites and Indians, the film’s unusual reservation setting (with genuine Comanche players) and some quite gloriously filmed exteriors make this a real viewing pleasure. With a bit of imagination, one might look at the miscegenation theme combined with some distinctive shots from interiors out into the bright sunlight and think that there is a reminder or two here of The Searchers.

Luke McKernan

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