Canadian Women Film Directors Database
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Something New

Directed by Nell Shipman and Bert Van Tuyle
United States, 1920 (fiction, 65 minutes, black and white)
Video (Internet Archive)

Film Description:
"Something New tells the simple story of a writer who is kidnapped by banditti and whisked away to their desert lair. Her boyfriend comes to her rescue in his trusty Maxwell, driving with incredible skill through extreme desert terrain. The rescue is effected with ludicrous ease, but – as often happens in a Shipman script – the hero is injured and Shipman herself must execute equally amazing feats of driving to save the day."
-- Toronto International Film Festival Group (source)

Film Credits (partial):
Written by: Nell Shipman, Bert Van Tuyle
Produced by: B.F. Croghan
Principal Cast: Nell Shipman, Bert Van Tuyle, L.M. Wells, William McCormack, Laddie the dog, the 1920 Maxwell
Cinematography: Joseph B. Walker
Film Editing: Nell Shipman
Production Company: Nell Shipman Productions
(sources)

Notes about Something New

(sources)

Quotes about Something New

"Although Bill executes stunning feats of driving skill in his trusty Maxwell auto, the rescue of the 'Girl' from the 'Bad Hats' is carried out with ludicrous ease. The tables are turned, however, when Bill is gratuitously wounded in the head, and the heroine must navigate them both to safety through the performance of feats of ingenuity, bravery, and skill that are even greater than those of the hero. That this scenario is constructed around consciously ironic varations on genre conventions of the heroine is indicated by Shipman's foregrounding herself as enunciator of Something New: The film opens and closes with scenes of Shipman as 'The Writing Woman' typing out her story on her trusty old Remington."
-- Kay Armatage (source)

"Something New is charming as a comic melodrama and interesting as an industrial project. Its interest exceeds these rubrics, however, for Shipman here foregrounds her authorial voice."
-- Kay Armatage (source)

"Perhaps the most intriguing feature of the film [Something New] is the way in which the automobile emerges as a quasi-subjective companion and lover whose relationship with the woman soon displaces the male hero to the visual and narrative margins."
-- Jennifer Parchesky (source)

"The film [Something New] was financed by the Maxwell-Briscoe Motor Company and, as such, has been dismissed by some critics as merely an extended and somewhat melodramatic commercial for the off-road capacities of the Maxwell automobile. But [Nell] Shipman's collaboration with the automaker represents less a capitulation of art to commerce than a strategic alliance enabling her independence from the equally commercial and increasingly patriarchal studio system."
-- Jennifer Parchesky (source)

Bibliography for Something New

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