Sunday, November 15, 2015

Silent Sundays: Miss Lulu Bett (1921)

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“The greatest tragedy in the world, because it is the most frequent, is that of a human soul caught in the toils of the common place.”

            There is nothing worse than being bossed around by your own family members. We are bossed around all day at work and if you are like me (at twenty-eight years old) still living at home with your parents and siblings all you want is to come home and feel supported and relaxed. I always hate when my dad sees me sitting on the couch in the morning on the weekends eating my breakfast and reading my book and he immediately tries to tell me to do something that my mom told him to do and he does not want to do it. Whenever my mom wants my dad to do something and he gets pissed because he does not want to do it he takes out his frustration on me and my brothers and starts trying to boss us around. I say “try” because I walk away when he gets like that. He has no idea how much I help my mom out around the house when he is not home. This has been a constant issue between me and my dad for so long and it is getting so old.
            This does have a point and does relate somewhat to the story of the 1921 silent film Miss Lulu Bett. Unlike the character of Lulu Bett I am not treated as a slave who is bossed around by her sister and terrible brother-in-law.
            Lulu Bett is not married and has no job. She has been living with her sister Ina’s family and their mother. To earn her keep Lulu has become the family’s servant. Her brother-in-law Dwight is controlling and wants his dinner exactly at the same time every single day and not a moment later. Ina does not do anything for herself, Ina and Dwight’s oldest daughter Diana longs to leave their small town for something more. And their youngest daughter is a bit of a troublemaker. Lulu is put in charge of cooking and cleaning the house. Her mother does not like the way Dwight speaks to both of them but there is nothing they can really do.
            One night Dwight’s brother, Ninian, who has been away for twenty years traveling the world comes back. Lulu was the one to answer the door late at night when Ninian arrives. He likes Lulu. He also does not like the way Dwight bosses her around and pays attention to Lulu. One night he invites Lulu, Dwight, and Ina out for dinner. As a joke Ninian fakes marries Lulu and she accepts. Well, that was a dumb thing to do because Dwight is a justice of the peace and he says their little exchange is legal. Ninian wants to make a go of their marriage because he really does like her. Lulu goes with it because she is finally away from Dwight and her sister and someone is finally paying positive attention to her.
Image result for miss lulu bett 1921
Image result for miss lulu bett 1921
            Ninian gives Lulu her own suitcase with toiletries in it. She says allowed she wonders how he has never been married before. Ninian becomes quiet and admits that fifteen years ago he had been married but two years after their wedding she left him and she has not seen her since. This makes Ninian and Lulu’s marriage void. Lulu begrudgingly returns home. She finds the kitchen a mess because Ina does nothing.
            The town immediately begins to talk. Dwight makes it seem as though Lulu was a bad wife and Ninian ran away. He would rather tell a lie at Lulu’s expense than ruin his family name with such a scandal. The tow and even Dwight turns against Lulu except for one guy who treats Lulu very kindly and does not care what everyone else is saying about her.
Image result for miss lulu bett 1921
Image result for miss lulu bett 1921
            In the end, Lulu finally has enough and lets Dwight and her sister know how she feels.

            Miss Lulu Bett was good. What kept me from really liking it was how awful Dwight was and how the people put Lulu down for believing she was a bad wife. I understand the time period I know society was a lot different but still the whole situation pissed me off. I was just so happy when Lulu gave that asshole Dwight a piece of her mind! Miss Lulu Bett was a very well made and very well acted silent film that I recommend seeing if you enjoy silent films.  It is currently available to view in full on YouTube. 
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