Hypocrites (found silent film; 1915)
(The) Hypocrites is a 1915 silent film directed by female director Lois Weber, and produced by Bosworth Inc. The film is best known for its religious nature, special effects, and inclusion of the first scene of full-frontal female nudity in film, and the controversy surrounding it at the time.
The film follows a preacher in Paris who gives a sermon concerning hypocrisy in his church. The crowd listening to his sermon becomes bored with the message with the exception of one woman who takes in everything he states. After the crowd disbands after the sermon, the preacher sits down to read the newspaper, and ultimately falls asleep. When the preacher awakes, he discovers he is a medieval monk who is working on his statue, called "Truth." When he reveals the statue to the King and Queen, the audience becomes enraged that the statue is of a nude woman and execute the monk. He thus dies in real life. In his dream, the statue disappears. He awakes to see "Naked Truth" guide him through all of humanity's hypocrisies to the "Gate of Truth," as the parish comes to learn of the preacher's death.
Due to Weber's depiction of "Naked Truth" as a nude woman, the film was barred from screening in multiple theatres in the United States, most notably in Ohio, New York, Boston,, and Sacramento. The barring issue in Sacramento, however, was settled in court when a judge ruled that the film was to air despite the demands of the censors. Since Margaret Edwards was uncredited in the film as the role for "Naked Truth", Myrtle Stedman was often mistaken for the role since her's was simply titled "The Woman".
The film was inaccessible to the general public up until April 22, 2008 when Kino International released a remastered version on DVD with Cleo Madison's Eleanor's Catch. The DVD video has since been uploaded to YouTube for online viewing.
- A page indicating the first scene of female nudity in film. Retrieved 17 Oct '18
- A review of the film on a silent film marketing website Retrieved 16 Oct '18
- A newspaper segment mentioning Ohio's barring of the film and mistaking Myrtle Stedman's role. Retrieved 17 Oct '18
- A blog post detailing the riots in New York and mayor;'s demands in Boston Retrieved 17 Oct '18
- A newspaper segment detailing the barring and following court case. Retrieved 17 Oct '18
- The American Film Institute confirming Margaret Edward's role in the film. Retrieved 17 Oct '18
- The pre-order page for the DVD set set to release for April of 2008 Retrieved 17 Oct '18