A young working girl must suport her family on only five dollars a week. The strain of trying to feed, house and clothe her mother, her father and three brothers finally gets to be too much, and she winds up selling her body for a pair of shoes.
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Here lie the dried beans of seconds spread on the grease-creased tablecloth, and time’s cracked seedpods grinning empty for her to make shame’s necklace of. If Lamprecht’s “Under the Lantern” seems gloved on Blok’s “A night, a street”, then Weber's “Shoes” could find an eloquent backup on a page about vesper sacrifice, occurring at a time when everybody looks aside, when families meet around day’s only common course,
A disappointingly conservative and patriarchal depiction of womanhood (and a woman's ideal of happiness) from the first major female Hollywood director. In terms of female silent film directors, Weber is no match for Maya Deren, who dares to imagine a genuinely non-patriarchal femininity. For a more affecting take on the dehumanizing experience of poverty from the same period, see F. W. Murnau's The Last Laugh.