Silent Movie Stills

There is a small box of silent film stills in our archive that I’ve been working to identify, and I could use some help.

The title for this post is a bit misleading, as I’ve now determined that these are most likely from stage productions. Many stage actors of the time also made films, though, so hopefully someone more familiar with the silent era might recognize an actor. (Apologies for the glare in some of the photos: many of the photos have warped, and I did not want to force them to lie flat.)

Edmund Lowe and Florence Reed in Roads of Destiny

Roads of Destiny (1918)

Theater Magazine, Jan 1919

I am certain the man in the first two photos is Edmund Lowe. I found a photo of him from a 1918 play called “Roads of Destiny,” by Channing Pollock, in which he seems to be wearing the same costume–although he’s in pretty standard formalwear, so that hardly confirms anything. Unfortunately the stylized makeup of the period so distorted actresses faces that I’ve had a lot of trouble confirming who the woman is. I think she looks similar to Alma Belwin, but I’ve been convinced she was a number of different actresses I’ve compared her to. Lowe’s co-star in the play was Florence Reed; it could also be her, but I think Reed more closely resembles the woman in the 3rd photo. The actors play multiple roles in the film, as it takes place in 3 distinct worlds, so they could even be the same actress.

Could the man in the third photo be Malcolm Williams, who also appeared in the play? There were 35 performers in the play, but I’ve only found names for about 10 of them. That photo could also be from another play entirely.

I’ve been unable to find a copy of “Roads of Destiny” online, but descriptions lead me to believe that the following images, though taken by the same studio, are from different production (or productions).


Thank you for any help you are able to offer!

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