In the early years of silent cinema, broad melodrama was the order of the day. And what could be riper for melodramatic treatment than the exotic notion of polygamy in 19th-century America?
Director Robert Z. Leonard—who cast himself as an ethnic caricature known as “The Boob” in several comedy shorts—teamed up with vaudeville star and his eventual wife Mae Murray on several films, and this is one of the few that has survived. Murray plays Dora, a young woman whose family is saved from Indians in the 1840s by migrating Mormons. But we all know that there’s nothing a Mormon man wanted more in those days than to sweep unsuspecting girls into their collection of wives, no matter their feelings about the Gospel. In the fine tradition of the era, it’s a tale of virtue struggling against depravity—and you can experience it in all its overwrought glory, complete with Wurlitzer pipe organ accompaniment.
A Mormon Maid @ The Organ Loft, 3331 Edison St., 801-485-9265, April 23-24, 7:30 p.m. OrganLoftSLC.com