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Warnings against consumption

by Kate Fortmueller

Edith (Fannie Ward) spends money that she doesn’t have. In order to earn more she steals money from the red cross, invests it, and eventually loses all the money. In an effort to replace the money Edith borrows money from the Burmese trader (in exchange for sex). Rather than honoring the terms of the agreement she attempts to return the money. The Burmese trader brands her (like he does with all of his property). What does this sequence say about consumption and materialism? Consider the lighting in this sequence. How does the lighting help you understand the morality of the scene? Are any of these characters "good" at the end of this sequence?

The Cheat (1915) - Rape Sequence

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In this sequence the Burmese trader (Sessue Hayakawa) attempts to rape the society woman (Fannie Ward), but is killed by her husband.

from The Cheat (1915)
Creator: Cecil B. DeMille
Distributor: Kino Video
Posted by Kate Fortmueller