Hindle Wakes

Great Britain 1927, Feature film, silent, 117' | Director Maurice Elvey | Screenplay Victor Saville | DoP Jack E. Cox, William Shenton | Editor Gareth Gundrey | Music In the Nursery, Philip Carli | Cast Estelle Brody, John Stuart, Norman Mc, Marie Ault Humbertsom, Peggy Calisle | Production Gaumont British Picture Corporation | Distribution bfi - British Film Institute

The young Fanny works in a Lancashire cotton mill. Unbeknown to her parents, she spends a "dirty weekend" with her boss's son in Blackpool. Whereupon her secret accidentally gets out and her mother goes crazy. But when the mill director orders his son to do the right thing by the innocent girl he has seduced, the "lewd little trollop" suddenly becomes – in her mother's eyes at least – a farsighted young lady who was clever enough to land herself a rich man's son as husband. Yet Fanny, with no intention of being forced into marriage, has other plans.

In 1914, radical feminist Emma Goldman wrote of the stage play on which the film is based: "He [playwright Stanley Houghton] had the courage to touch one of the most sensitive spots of Puritanism – woman's virtue. Whatever else one may criticise or attack, the sacredness of virtue must remain untouched. It is the last fetish which even so-called liberal-minded people refuse to destroy." The film critics of the time praised the realistic depiction of the worker everyday in Hindle Wakes as well as the persuasive acting skills of the cast, above all Estelle Brody as Fanny. "Estelle Brody. Agreeably pert. Clearly a young woman of today, she can see beyond the horizons of her parents. Is an independent-minded young woman even when things begin to turn unpleasant. With incredible ease, Mrs Brady also acts more true to life than most of the better-known stars between California and Moscow.." Georg Herzberg in: Film-Kurier (Berlin), N° 298, 15.12.1928 Silent piano accompaniment by Maud Nelissen.


Estelle Brody, one of the biggest stars on the British silent movie scene, was American. A fact that the then nationalist British film industry tried to cover up. Originally a dancer and singer, Ms Brody had come to London for a role on a West End stage. Her first film part was 1926 in White Heat and she made breakthrough in the same year thanks to Maurice Elvey's war film Mademoiselle from Armentieres which was so successful that it soon spawned a sequel in 1928: Mademoiselle Parley Voo. An attempt to gain a foothold in Hollywood not only failed; it also turned her British fans against her. By the early 1930s, her career seemed finished. It wasn't until 1950 that she was to appear in They Were Not Divided, a film in which she played the role of war correspondent. She subsequently enjoyed regular work on TV and in film until 1980. Estelle Brody died 1995 in Malta.

Maurice Elvey
Great Britain
Feature Film, Silent Film
Focus: Freedom