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The Captive (1915)

With her brother killed Sonya is given Turkish captive Mahmud to do the hard work on the farm. After they become fond of each other he strikes a Turkish officer. When peace arrives, his ... See full summary »

Director:

Cecil B. DeMille

Writers:

Cecil B. DeMille (based on the play by), Jeanie Macpherson (scenario) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Blanche Sweet ... Sonya Martinovich
House Peters ... Muhamud Hassan
Gerald Ward Gerald Ward ... Milos Martinovich
Page Peters ... Marko Martinovitch
Jeanie Macpherson ... Milka
Theodore Roberts ... The Burgomaster
William Elmer ... Turkish Officer (as Billy Elmer)
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Storyline

With her brother killed Sonya is given Turkish captive Mahmud to do the hard work on the farm. After they become fond of each other he strikes a Turkish officer. When peace arrives, his blow costs him his noble lands. She is burned out of her house. They meet again on the road with nothing but each other. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Picturization of the Successful Play (original poster)

Genres:

Drama | Romance | War

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

22 April 1915 (USA) See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,154 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Connections

Featured in The House That Shadows Built (1931) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Entertaining Silent Highlights Forgotten Balkan Wars
17 April 2017 | by dglinkSee all my reviews

Early in the 20th century, four independent Balkan states formed the Balkan League and defeated the Ottoman Empire during the years just prior to World War I. Set in Montenegro, one of the four independent states, Cecil B. DeMille's "The Captive," filmed in 1915, depicts events that took place only two years earlier. A peasant woman's brother is killed in a battle with the Ottoman Turks, and she is left alone to care for the family farm. To alleviate the labor shortage in Montenegro, authorities force Turkish prisoners of war to labor on local farms.

Lovely Blanche Sweet is Sonya Martinovich, the young widow who loses her brother and, left with a son and a small flock of goats, struggles to work her farm alone. Meanwhile, Muhamud Hassan, played by House Peters, is a Turkish nobleman soldiering in the Ottoman army. Hassan is captured and assigned to work for Martinovich. Needless to say in this simple, but touching story, Hassan befriends Sonya's son and an attraction develops between Sonya and Hassan. Based on a play by Jeanie MacPherson, the short 50-minute film has no time to delve into any impediments to romance, such as religious, linguistic, and cultural differences, not to mention the dangers of Hassan's taking sides against his own troops.

Although supporting players mug and twirl their mustaches, Sweet and Peters give naturalistic performances that largely avoid the pitfalls of the "grand style." While DeMille maintains a good pace, budgetary limits restrict his battle scenes, and the town's capture and re-capture appear to occur in one room. Appropriately tinted, the cinematography by Alvin Wyckoff is clear and sharp, although the landscapes are Southern California and not Montenegro. Despite quibbles that are largely a product of the period, aficionados of early silent films will definitely find "The Captive" worthy and perhaps essential viewing. However, European history buffs may also find the film of interest, because it throws light on the little-known Balkan Wars that were precursors to World War I. With a talented actress of early cinema, a rising directorial talent, and a surprisingly engaging story, "The Captive" is more than an historical curiosity, it is an entertaining movie.


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