An actor and general manager with his mother’s theatrical troupe since the mid-1900s, Cecil B. DeMille formed a filmmaking partnership in 1913 with vaudeville artist Jesse L. Lasky and businessman Samuel Goldfish (soon to be known as Samuel Goldwyn). Their first venture was The Squaw Man (1914), which DeMille co-directed, co-wrote and co-produced with Oscar Apfel. This successful and elaborate six-reeler launched DeMille on a lifelong career in films. His first solo effort was the Western The Virginian (1914), which he also co-scripted. He edited and wrote (or co-wrote) almost all his successful films, with the notable exception of the popular melodrama The Cheat (1915). Writer Jeanie Macpherson began working for DeMille in 1914 with The Captive (1915), and wrote most of his later silent films: hits that included witty romantic farces (Don’t Change Your Husband); epic morality tales that combined modern dramas with visions of history (Joan the Woman 1916 read more
One of the BFI's 360 Classics selection, regarded by many as De Mille's finest, and it's not hard to see why. By turns light and elegant, dark and suspenseful, then gripping and dynamic, it's a well made film, with inventive lighting. Just a pity the smooth dastardly villain trying to take advantage of a frivolously extravagant married woman has to be Japanese (converted to Burmese in intertitles a few years later)
yes, it is essentially a racist film, but ironically enough, Hayakawa's character in this is also just about the most fully developed East Asian character in Hollywood history. he is at times charming, at others menacing. i'd rather have characters like this than caricatures.