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BLACK LIGHTNING

PRESERVATION STATUS: Very Endangered. Shrinkage noted and beginning stages of deterioration. UPDATE!! 5/6/98: David Stenn has just discovered a completely restored print of this feature in Russia. The titles are in Russian. If it is not too late, titles from existing UCLA print may be added. This still needs funding (though dramatically less).UPDATE 9/8/98: Reel 4 (at UCLA)severe nitrate deterioration.

Gotham Productions. Dist. Lumas Film Corp. December 8, 1924 (New York showing: October 7;, 1924; Silent b&w. 35 mm. 6 reels, 5500 ft. Presented by Samuel Sax. Directed by James P. Hogan. Scenery by Dorothy Howell. Story by Frank Foster Davis. Photography by Jack MacKenzie.

CAST: Clara Bow (Martha Larned), Harold Austin (Ray Chambers), Eddie Phillips (Ez Howard), Joe Butterworth (Dick Larned), Thunder (himself, a dog), Mark Fenton (doctor), John Pringle (city doctor), James P. Hogan (Frank Larned)

MELODRAMA. Accompanied by Thunder, the dog who rescued him from the firing line in France, World War veteran Ray Chambers goes to the mountains to recover from his war injuries. There he meets Martha Larned, a lonely mountain girl who lives with her little brother, Dick. Ray discovers that Martha is the sister of his dead buddy, Frank Larned, and he decides to stay and protect her from harassment by Jim Howard and his halfwitted brother, Ez. When Dick is hurt in a fall, Ray goes for a doctor; Ez kills Jim and attacks Martha; and Thunder takes care of Ez. Ray and Martha then get married. (Information taken from the American Film Institute Catalog)

NOTES: This feature starred the canine tricks of Thunder, the police dog; Clara suffers the rigor of rural life and bad types, with Roy Chambers as the recuperating World War I veteran whom she adores. Moving Picture World decided: "In a serious role that is different from her flapper types as possible. . .she shows unusual versatility and scores heavily."

Although the quality of Clara's features was still unexceptional, she was gaining a small follthold in the industry. She was among the 13 players chosen as WAMPAS Baby Stars of 1924. In actuality the award meant little beyond singling Clara out from the crowd and providing her with some short-term publicity.



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