AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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A Mormon Maid
Director: Robert Leonard (Dir)
Release Date:   Feb 1917
Duration (in reels):   5
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Cast:   Mae Murray (Dora)  
    Frank Borzage (Tom Rigdon)  
    Hobart Bosworth (John Hogue)  
    Edythe Chapman (Nancy Hogue)  
    Noah Beery (Darius Burr)  
    Richard Cummings (The Lion of the Lord)  

Summary: John Hogue, his wife, and their daughter Dora are saved from the Indians by the Mormons and taken into their community. Dora falls in love with Tom Rigdon, a youthful convert, but is desired by Elder Darius Burr who conspires to force Hogue into the sect in order to obtain his daughter. Burr informs Dora that her father will be forced to marry a second wife unless she agrees to marry the elder. Dora, ignorant that the ceremony has already taken place, agrees to the sacrifice but tells the sect, untruthfully, that she is not a virgin, disqualifying herself as a bride by Mormon law. When Hogue's second wife is brought to the house, Dora's mother commits suicide and Hogue, Tom and Dora are taken prisoner by the Avenging Angels, a band of masked Mormon militiamen. Left in the desert to die by the Avenging Angels, Hogue makes his way back in time to save his daughter from Burr's advances, and Tom and the three escape from the community. 

Production Company: Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Co.  
Distribution Company: State Rights  
  Friedman Enterprises, Inc.  
  Hiller & Wilk  
Director: Robert Leonard (Dir)
  Roy Marshall (Asst dir)
Writer: Charles Sarver (Scen)
  Paul West (Story)
Photography: Charles Rosher (Cam)
Country: United States
Language: English

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Friedman Enterprises, Inc. 12/2/1917 dd/mm/yyyy LP10177

Physical Properties: b&w:
  Si:

 
Genre: Drama
Sub-Genre: Historical
 
Subjects (Major): Bigamy
  Conspiracy
  Mormons
  Religious persecution
  Self-sacrifice
  Suicide
 
Subjects (Minor): Deserts
  Liars
  Rape
  Vigilantes
  Virginity

Note: Paul West's story was originally titled The Deliverance . The film was originally eight reels long but was cut to five reels before its release. It was allegedly produced to capitalize on anti-Mormon sentiment prevalent at the time. Paramount planned to release the film on 11 Jan 1917, postponed the release to 1 Feb 1917 at the last minute, then took the film off its release charts in mid-January 1917. The film subsequently appeared in release charts as a Feb state rights release by Friedman Enterprises; Hiller & Wilk were the film's selling agents.
       A modern source claims that Paramount decided not to distribute the film due to pressure from the Mormon Church. Papers in the Cecil B. DeMille Collection at Brigham Young University indicate that Lasky did not feel that the film was up to company standards and the company wanted to release it as a state rights film. Existing prints of the film have retained the Lasky name, however.  

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
ETR   24 Feb 17   p. 837.
Motog   3 Mar 17   p. 483.
MPN   3 Mar 17   p. 1419.
MPW   1 Sep 17   p. 18.
NYDM   24 Feb 17   p. 26.
Wid's   22 Feb 17   p. 118.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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