The Blot | Chicago Reader

The Blot

Widely regarded as Lois Weber's masterpiece, The Blot (1921) brings into perfect harmony the social commentary of her Universal work and the domestic intrigue of her later projects. Amelia Griggs (Windsor), a lovely small-town librarian, lives in near poverty with her mother (Margaret McWade) and father (Philip Hubbard), an ill-paid college professor. Circling Amelia are three suitors of varying means: Reverend Gates, a minister whose congregation keeps him on slave wages; Phil West (Calhern), a rich swell who studies with Professor Griggs; and Peter Olsen, the shy eldest son of the immigrant family who live next door. The Blot burns with the shame of poverty, challenging its viewers to grant teachers and clergy a living wage, but it also betrays a nativist streak that might still resonate in Trump's America: there's a great sense of resentment toward the Olsens, who are supported by the father's successful shoe business and lord it over their better-educated neighbors. Continue reading >>

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