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1926 80 mins

Allan Dwan
Rex Beach, Becky Gardiner, James Shelley Hamilton
Lois Moran, Noah Beery, Louise Dresser

Presented by Chicago Film Society

Live musical accompaniment by David Drazin!

The sexual hypocrisy of the Jazz Age is skewered, throttled, and puréed in Padlocked, an upside-down morality tale about the petty tyranny of the purity brigade. Edith Gilbert (Lois Moran) just wants to be a normal teen, but her Holy Roller father Henry (Noah Beery) is too busy crusading against the modern world to be an effective parent. While Henry is off delivering a barnstormer of a speech against vice, Edith’s mother (Florence Turner) throws her a secret birthday party. Dad comes home early to find Mom blindfolded, playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey and inadvertently revealing her husband to be the biggest ass of them all. Henry announces that Edith will be sent to live with his steadier sister and then accidentally kills his wife by knocking her out and filling her bedroom with gas. After the funeral, Henry suggests that Edith should be adopted by his pious secretary, but she runs off to become a burlesque dancer instead. Edith starts spending weekends at the home of an ‘aesthetic dance’ instructor and his partner-in-crime, a woman who’s aged out of debauchery herself and grooms young ladies to join their lifestyle. A totally bonkers movie that’s simultaneously a sincerely feminist plea for emancipation and a frothy, QAnon-adjacent child-trafficking bromide from the pit of hell, Padlocked hangs together thanks to the smooth craft of director Allan Dwan and cinematographer James Wong Howe. Unseen since 1926 and recently restored from the sole surviving copy in the Národní Filmový Archiv, Padlocked must be seen to be believed. 

Restored by San Francisco Silent Film Festival with the support of the National Film Preservation Foundation.

Preceded by: “Flaming Flappers” [Fragment] (Fred Guiol, 1925) – 9 min – 35mm from Library of Congress

80 mins

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