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The Werewolf (1913 film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Werewolf
"The Werewolf" (1913 film).jpg
Directed byHenry MacRae
Screenplay byRuth Ann Baldwin
Release date
  • 13 December 1913 (1913-12-13)

The Werewolf is a 1913 silent film short directed by Henry MacRae. The film is about a navajo woman becoming a timberwolf.[1]

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Kee-On-Ee, a Navajo woman, becomes a witch after erroneously believing that her husband has abandoned her. She teaches the same skills to her daughter Watuma, who transforms into a wolf to carry out vengeance against the invading white settlers. Then, 100 years after Watuma's death, she returns from the dead to kill again. According to film historian Kelly Robinson, the film contains supernatural elements beyond mere lycanthropy such as witchcraft and reincarnation.[3]


Film historian Gary Don Rhodes stated that The Werewolf, written by Ruth Ann Baldwin drew upon folktale traditions as well as the popularity of "Indian" films in early cinema.[2] Baldwin was a former newspaper reporter, who worked as a screenwriter, editor and director at Universal in the 1910s.[4] It was directed by Henry MacRae who had made over 130 films for Universal, including early sound film such as Tarzan the Tiger (1929) and Flash Gordon (1936).[2][4] Lewis directed other Indigenous-themed films such as The Bronze Bride (1917).[4]

The film starred Phyllis Gordon as Watuma, Clarence Burton as Ezra Vance, Marie Walcamp as a young Kee-On-Ee, Lule Warrenton as Kee-On-Ee and William Clifford as Jack Ford.[1]

Release and reception

It was released on December 13, 1913.[1] As of 2020, The Werewolf is a lost film as it was destroyed in a 1924 fire at Universal Studios.[1]

From contemporary reviews, Motion Picture World found that "to those who care for much shooting and massacre, the picture will have appeal." while Motion Picture News declared the film to be "absolutely the most asinine affair ever produced [...] If this were a fairy story, it would be laughed at."[2]

Craig Ian Mann wrote that The Werewolf was the first known werewolf film on record.[1] In the early film cycle, at least two other films followed involving lycanthropy, including The Legend of the Phantom Tribe (1914) which was also written by Baldwin, directed by MacRae, and starring Clifford for 101 Bison. The other was The White Wolf (1914), which also involved an "Indian" theme with someone's spirit embodied within a wolf.[2]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f Mann 2020, p. 12.
  2. ^ a b c d e Rhodes 2018, p. 201.
  3. ^ Robinson, Kelly. "Film's First Lycanthrope: 1913's The Werewolf." Scary Monsters #114, 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Lewis 2012, p. 13.


  • Lewis, Randolph (2012). Navajo Talking Picture. Nebraska Paperback. ISBN 9780803238411.
  • Mann, Craig Ian (2020). Phases of the Moon: A Cultural History of the Werewolf Film. Edinburgh University Press. ISBN 978-1-4744-4111-7.
  • Rhodes, Gary D. (2018). The Birth of the American Horror Film. Edinburgh University Press. ISBN 9781474430869.

External links

This page was last edited on 11 March 2023, at 08:10
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