Monday, September 19, 2016

The original Lassie, a clever screen actress

The original Lassie (picture above) was a clever canine screen actress who appeared in The Street of Forgotten Men (1925), directed by Herbert Brenon. In the film, she is killed by Bridegport White-Eye (picture above), the fake blind beggar played by John Harrington, whose moll was played by Louise Brooks. According to the article below, this canine Lassie (a bull terrier-cocker spaniel mix which predated the more famous Collie) was something of a star in her day, earning $15,000 a year.

As noted in the article above, "It is said that the death of Lassie in The Street of Forgotten Men was so impressive that persons were convinced that she must have been cruelly beaten." And that individuals and Societies for the Prevention of the Cruelty to Animals wrote protesting against what they supposed to be cruelty to the canine star. How was the animal's death in The Street of Forgotten Men so effectively filmed by Hal Rosson? The answer can be found the the clipping below.

In the still shown below, The Street of Forgotten Men star Percy Marmont holds the dying Lassie in his arms as denizens of the Bowery's look on. Wooden barrels be damned.

Thought not credited in the film, Lassie still managed to find her way into at least a few newspaper advertisements promoting The Street of Forgotten Men. Here is an example from Mexico, where the film was shown under the title La calle del olvido.

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