DirectorLois Weber GenreSilent film WriterLois Weber LanguageSilent
Release dateJanuary 1915 (1915-01) CastMyrtle Stedman, Adele Farrington, Jane Darwell, Nigel De Brulier Similar moviesThe Red Lily (1924), Stella Dallas (1925), The Mystic (1925), Stark Love (1927), The Dragon Painter (1919)
Hypocrites 1915 directed by lois weber
In a silent film from Lois Weber, a minister (Herbert Standing) addresses his congregation, urging them to abandon hypocrisy. The crowd reacts negatively and demands the ministers resignation. The story shifts to medieval times, focusing on a monk (Courtenay Foote) creating a sculpture. When the sculpture is revealed to be a nude woman, the monk is killed by an angry mob. These and other narratives come together in a treatise on morality and society.
Hypocrites is a 1915 silent drama film directed by Lois Weber (1881-1939).
The film contained several full nude scenes. The film is regarded as anticlerical, and the nudity was justified by its religious context.
The story of St. Gabriel, who was killed by an ignorant mob for making a nude statue representing Purity, who is also represented by a ghostly naked girl that flits through the film.
The film follows the parallel stories of an early Christian ascetic and a modern minister, with most actors in dual roles. Gabriel (Courteney Foote) is a medieval monk who devotes himself to completing a statue of “Truth,” only to be murdered by a mob when his work turns out to be an image of a naked woman. The contemporary Gabriel is the pastor of a large wealthy urban congregation for whom religion is a matter of appearances, not beliefs. The hypocrisy of the congregation is exposed by a series of vignettes in which the Naked Truth, literally portrayed by a nude Margaret Edwards, reveals their appetites for money, sex and power.
Courtenay Foote - Gabriel, the Ascetic
Myrtle Stedman - The Woman
Herbert Standing - The Abbot
Adele Farrington - The Queen
Margaret Edwards (1877–1929) - The Naked Truth
Charles Villiers - the Minister
Hypocrites was a shocking and controversial film whose release was held up for many months by the difficulty of distributing a film with full nudity. Weber’s sincerity and reputation allowed her to use something that in the hands of a male director would have been considered scandalous and immoral. The film was passed by the British Board of Film Censors. However, because of the full and recurring nudity through the film, it caused riots in New York, was banned in Ohio, and was subject to censorship in Boston when the mayor demanded that the film negatives be painted over to clothe the woman.
Hypocrites and the technique was widely admired at the time for its extraordinary use of multiple exposures and intricate editing, and propelled Weber to the front ranks of silent directors. The use in the film of traveling double exposure sequences of the woman is considered impressive for 1915.
Most of the film has survived, though some scenes have suffered from some serious nitrate decomposition in places especially at the beginning and cannot be restored. A print of the film is kept in the Library of Congress.