The Crimson Yoke (1916)
Cleo Madison in "The Crimson Yoke"
Caribi sells his game in the market.
Rex Two-Reel Mexican drama deals with slavery in Mexico and a wonderful sacrifice on the part of a free born Octoroon. Story by Geo. Hall and Harvey Gates. Produced by Cleo Madison and W.V. Mong.
THESE are the days when the whole artistic world is striving for atmosphere. On the speaking stage, Belasco is known for his accurate productions. People demand not only foreign or ancient plots, but also require them to be staged with the correct costumes, scenery, architecture and mannerism of the period and place to which they belong.
This picture, besides portraying perfectly the Spanish temperament illustrated in a stirring plot, gives an appreciation of Mexican life which ordinarily can be acquired ordinarily by a sojourn in the country itself.
The outline which follows indicates but half the merit of the picture.
Nine, a freeborn Octoroon, is an attendant in the household of Madame Casimir, a grande dame, a proud French woman, and mistress of the Casimir plantations. Her son has been in the States for the past few years, supposedly attending college. One day the mother receives a letter from young Casimir, pleading for more money. He tells her that it is necessary for im to live in style suitable to the Casimirs. Enclosed with the letter is a recent photograph of the young man. The mother decides to borrow the money from Luridi, a notorious slave-dealer and free-trader. The mother tells Nina to go to the village and bring Luridi to the house.
Nina knows Luridi's character, and has often noticed his covetous glances. She pouts because she is sent on this errand and is about to refuse, when she sees the photograph of young Casimir, which she picks up. Nina smiles and hides the picture in her bosom.
Luridi is found in his slave pen, and Nina delivers the message. His eyes light with covetousness when Nina enters, but she repulses his attentions. One of the traders attacks Nina, and Caribi interferes. He is taken prisoner, but on Luridi's command he is released. Luridi hurries to the Casimir plantations, and is shown the letter from young Casimir. Luridi makes an offer to advance the money in return for Nina. The mother refuses this request, stating that Nina is freeborn and cannot be sold. Luridi is disappointed, but hides his disappointment as best he can.
Young Casimir returns after a riotous living in the States.
One night, while partly under the influence of liquor, he loses heavily and signs an enormous check against the Casimir fortune, which he also loses. Luridi holds the note, and next day upon visiting the bank, finds that the "Casimir family has no such sum as is represented by the check. Luridi swears to make young Casimir suffer for deceiving him. He threatens to have the young man thrown into jail unless he makes the check good. Nina hears the argument, and her adoration for the young man prompts her to offer herself to Luridi as a slave, provided that he will deliver the check to the Casimirs.
Nina is thrown into the slave pen with the other slaves and peons, and soon becomes the center of attraction.
Caribi follows Nina and helps her to escape. Luridi, when he finds that Nina is gone, sets out with his attendants to beat the neighboring woods in search of her. Caribi jumps upon him from behind a bush, attacks him, and throws him into some quicksand. Nina, however, intercedes for him and he is rescued. Caribi then leaves to build their homes in the woods.
from The Moving Picture Weekly, July 8, 1916, p. 27
with Cleo Madison and Jack Mulhall. Directed by Cleo Madison and William V. Mong. Rex/Universal.
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Last Modified April 28, 2012.