Trapped by the Mormons March 20-22 @ the Tower Theatre
Trapped by the Mormons is a 1922 silent film that gives us a historical look at what perhaps society thought of Mormons during that era.
The story revolves around one, Isoldi Keene, a Mormon missionary played by the actor Louis Willoughby in a Bela Lugosi manner, who has his eyes set on the innocent lamb, Nora Prescott, played by Evelyn Brent. It seems that Keene has been watching Nora for quite some time on her daily treks to and from work and thinks she would make the perfect Wife #2. The problem is how to convince Nora to embrace Mormonism and its polygamous ways, not to mention, forsaking her fiancé, Sailor Jim.
The answer: hypnotism, something it seems Keene and other polygamous Mormons use to lure unsuspecting women into their trap, then whisk them away to Utah, rather, the Land of Deseret, for unspeakable purposes.
Nora lives with her mother and paralytic father, who upon discovering a Mormon pamphlet among Nora’s things goes into an apoplectic rage. Nora, who by this time has fallen under that Mormon spell and broken things off with Jim, tries to convince her father that Mr. Keene is a good man. This convinces Keene that he must trick Nora’s father into letting her go.
His “sister,” actually Wife number one, poses as an authoress in need of a transcriptionist for her upcoming trips abroad to absorb the local color in Holland.
Of course, Nora’s father allows her to take the job. After all, they don’t allow Mormons in Holland. And off Nora goes with Keene and his bunch of lasciviously portrayed Mormons to a religious rust of sorts, called Gethsemane (Sound familiar?).
Here, Nora begins to find out the true nature of these Mormons– they drink, they smoke, and worst of all, they have plans for killing Wife #1 because she told Nora who she really was, Keene’s first wife. Nora starts to wish she had never broken off her affair with Jim, and, oh, how she wished he was here to help her now!
Never fear, Nora. The brave and pure-hearted Jim has never left you. In fact, he has been following you all along with the aid of a private detective. He’s right across the street and is just waiting for his chance to come to the rescue. And so he does, in a climatic bar-room brawl, a good-over-evil battle in the end.
A rather long silent film, with the endless musical accompaniment of the time, Trapped by the Mormons is a campy, outrageous view of Mormons in 1920. Much more goes on in this film to point out the evil ways of Mormons, including fake resurrections and such. The question is how many people hold these views about not just Mormons, but the people of Utah today? More than I think we’d like to admit. But that’s another story.
So, ladies and gentleman, enjoy some good, silent melodrama at the Tower but remember to ask yourself: how many of you are being held against your will by polygamist Mormons?
Always FREE, thanks to READERS LIKE YOU!
Donate $10 OR MORE to get a SLUG sticker pack!