“The Italian”, 1915, is an amazingly well done silent movie. Thomas Ince always had a knack for bringing simple homespun stories to life with fullness and flair. “The Italian” is such a film. Solid acting, particularly by George Beban, father of silent child actor George Beban, Jr., and wonderful sets convey a realistic feeling of early immigrant tenements in New York. These give this 1915 film an authenticity which is unusual in features of this vintage.
When fortune no longer favors Beppo Donnetti (George Beban) in his homeland of Italy, he sets off for the welcoming shores of America, telling his beloved Annette (Clara Williams) that he will send for her upon successfully settling into a new life. After Beppo secures a job as a shoeshiner, he and Annette are reunited and soon have a child, but their happiness is short-lived. Their baby falls ill, setting into motion a chain of events that finds Beppo in jail and Annette desperate for money.
Initial release: January 1915
Director: Reginald Barker
Music composed by: Victor Schertzinger
Producer: Thomas H. Ince
Screenplay: Thomas H. Ince, C. Gardner Sullivan
Stars: George Beban, Clara Williams, J. Frank Burke