Raoul Walsh shot President Lincoln twice in his role as John Wilkes Booth and also as assistant director to DW Griffith on The Birth of a Nation. Within a few months he was directing his own feature and one that showed plenty of influences from his experience.
Regeneration is full of close-ups, dolly shots, juxtapositions, multiple and parallel narrative strands and a basket of cats that may or may not foreshadow what’s to come. He obviously learned quickly but the flair on display was all his own including his ability to get the best of a cast of professional and non-acting participants.
|Mother of Mercy, is this the end of Skinny?|
|Over the roofs of New York|
|Spot the actors|
|The boy's view of his mother's hearse|
|Mr and Mrs Conway have a disagreement|
|Owen grows up a fighter|
|Anna Q and Carl Harbaugh|
|Good times at Grogan's|
|Owen to the rescue|
|“A new world – wherein Owen finds, education, inspiration and love…”|
|Marie persuades Owen to lay down his can of beer|
But this cosy scene cannot remain undisturbed for ever: District Attorney Ames has his eye on this interloper who has seemingly stolen his Marie’s heart whilst Skinny and the boys are never likely to stay sensible for ever… Will the past catch up with Owen and Marie?
The version I saw was from Image Entertainment and came with a considered new musical setting by Philip Carli from the 1995 David Shepard restoration…. It doesn’t match Griffith for length or actual invention but it tells this wholesome melodrama well and is unflinching in its own way. The gangster films to follow would not all be so careful in the moral balance of their narratives.