The Coward (Silent)

Pioneering movie producer Thomas H. Ince's epic drama of the Civil War, his answer to D.W. Griffith's 'Birth of a Nation'.
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Format:  DVD-R
item number:  872R4

DVD-R Details

  • Run Time: 1 hours, 2 minutes
  • Video: Black & White
  • Encoding: Region 0 (Worldwide)
  • Released: September 5, 2023
  • Originally Released: 1915
  • Label: Alpha Video

Performers, Cast and Crew:

Starring , , &
Directed by &

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Young Frank Winslow of Virginia is reluctant to enlist in the Confederacy despite the insistence of his father, a colonel and decorated veteran of the Mexican-American War. After being forced to join up, Frank deserts his post and finds refuge with the people who actually raised him - his family's servants. So as to avoid dishonor to the family name, the Colonel then takes his son's place as Private Winslow. Union officers seize the abandoned Winslow farm, and Frank, from his secret hiding place, hears their plans to blow up a bridge. Overpowering one of the men and stealing his uniform, Frank races to warn his father, stationed on the bridge. But all the old man can see is the blue uniform of a Union soldier approaching him, and one of the greatest tragedies of the Civil War is about to begin…

The success of D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation (1915) led to a spate of Civil War pictures. Pioneering media impresario Thomas H. Ince, never one to be outdone, took his stab at the subgenre with The Coward. With more naturalistic acting and a somewhat (at least by 1915 standards) less racist storyline than Birth of a Nation, it could be argued that The Coward is the better film. (Despite their more sympathetic portrayal, the black characters are still played by white actors in blackface.) Ince plucked Charles Ray from obscurity to be his leading man, inadvertently turning the former extra into one of the biggest box-office draws of the Silent Age - but his star fell almost as quickly as it rose. The Coward led to a seemingly endless run of comedies where Ray played small town country boys who made good in the big city. Tiring of the repetition, he struck out on his own away from Ince with the self-financed historical drama The Courtship of Miles Standish (1923). The film was a major flop, and was notoriously parodied by 'Snub' Pollard as The Courtship of Miles Sandwich (1923). Afterwards, Ray only survived in Hollywood with the help of Ince, his original benefactor, and eked out a meager living from bit parts. Better roles in the sound era, like Just My Luck (1935), gave Ray hope for a comeback, but this never materialized. Charles Ray died in 1943 at the age of 52 from an impacted tooth that became infected, largely forgotten by Hollywood.

This product is made-on-demand by the manufacturer using DVD-R recordable media. Almost all DVD players can play DVD-Rs (except for some older models made before 2000) - please consult your owner's manual for formats compatible with your player. These DVD-Rs may not play on all computers or DVD player/recorders. To address this, the manufacturer recommends viewing this product on a DVD player that does not have recording capability.
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Product Info

  • Sales Rank: 608
  • UPC: 089218854698
  • Shipping Weight: 0.17/lbs (approx)
  • International Shipping: 1 item

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