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mercredi 6 août 2008
Alice Guy Blachè Solax Film
Making an American Citizen (1912)
Produced by Solax Co. (New York)
Directed by Alice Guy
With Lee Beggs, Blanche Cornwall
Released: October 30, 1912
1 Reel Making an American Citizen was directed in 1912 by Alice Guy for her own company, Solax. It is one of a series of one-reel melodramas (ca. 15 mins.), which Solax released, dealing with contemporary American life, especially the lives of recent immigrants.
In a sequence of nine scenes, Making an American Citizen portrays the education of a ruffian who regularly beats his wife, demonstrating to audiences that such behavior is unacceptable in America. The film opens on a country road, somewhere in Russia, where we see a rotund peasant sitting in a cart, while his wife leads the horse. The camera perspective leaves it up to the viewer to decide whether the peasant is whipping the horse or the wife, clearly signifying the state of gender relations. In the second scene, we see the husband beating his exhausted wife in Battery Park (with the Statue of Liberty in plain sight in the background), until a middle-class American man not only stops the beating but forces the husband to carry the couple's belongings. Subsequent scenes follow the couple to the lower East Side of New York and into the country. Each time the husband beats his