Shoes is a plea for women’s equality (women’s suffrage was still a hard-fought political goal in both countries), but where one celebrated a woman’s right to sexual freedom, Weber’s film portrays the reality and tragedy of a shop girl in modern society.
Eva Meyer is a poor shop girl working at a five-and-dime. She is the sole wage earner for three younger sisters, a mother who struggles to hold everything together, and a father who prefers beer and penny dreadfuls to work. Each week, Eva returns to her cold-water flat and dutifully hands over her meager earnings to her mother. But her wages barely cover the grocer’s bill and cannot provide for decent clothing. With only cardboard to patch the holes in the soles of her shoes, Eva’s life becomes harder with each rainy day and every splinter. In constant pain and with no solution in sight, the disheartened girl considers the uninvited advances of Charlie, a cad with clearly dishonorable intentions.
Directed by Lois Weber.
This screening is preceded by an introduction from Dr. Mark Cooper (Author of Universal Women: Filmmaking and Institutional Change in Early Hollywood, Professor of Film and Media Studies at the University of South Carolina).
More about Shoes:
“Weber weaves a beautifully simple story with a technique much celebrated in post-WWII Italy as neorealism. Shooting exteriors around Los Angeles — including a remarkable scene in Pershing Square and the actual front of Woolworth’s on Broadway — Weber created her masterpiece.
The director’s brand-new discovery, sixteen-year-old Mary MacLaren (resembling a young Jennifer Lawrence) is the embodiment of youthful innocence and too-early world-weariness. Much like the 1912 English play “Hindle Wakes,” Shoes is a plea for women’s equality (women’s suffrage was still a hard-fought political goal in both countries), but where one celebrated a woman’s right to sexual freedom, Weber’s film portrays the reality and tragedy of a shop girl in modern society.
The Shoes restoration by the Eye Filmmuseum in Amsterdam combined a Dutch nitrate print and a 1930s American “comedic” reissue of the film called Unshod Maiden found at the Library of Congress. Thanks to the recent discovery of the original script and intertitles in the 16mm microfilm files at NBC/Universal, the Milestone edition more closely reflects the original film. Prominent composer/pianist Donald Sosin is creating a new score to accompany Shoes.” – LoisWeber.net