Helen of Four Gates
"A Story of jealousy and love and the mischief caused by the jealous ones. A cruel man having lost out on the love of Helen, the Mother, takes her young baby from her dying arms and promises to bring it up as his own. He brings the child up inflicting misery at every turn. The girl falls in love, but because of his twisted thinking he persuades her lover to leave and he marries her off to a cruel tramp. The passing of time brings her true love back but in very ill health, he calls for her and she risks the anger of her husband to go to him. It all culminates with the death of the husband leaving the lovers free to find their happiness at last". - source BFI
There are only two copies of this film in existence in the world. There is a 16mm film in the George Eastman Museum in New York and there is the original 35mm version at the Cinematheque Quebecoise in Montreal.
The December 1921 issue of the Hepworth Magazine has an article by Ethel Holdsworth about the film - please contact us if you have a copy.
The film was made in 1920, set in the Yorkshire Dales and is 5800 feet long. Among other places, it was shown at the "Hepworth Comes Home", accompanied live by a string quartet. And it was truly thrilling, with a plot that had more wicked twists and turns than most films of today. This web author was on the edge of his seat throughout.
(Nick Wilding) It was originally my intention to show Helen of Four Gates at the Hebden Bridge Picture House, but I have adapted the evening to looking at our entire 88 years of film-making in the area, which is about a hundred times more complicated!
The film is based on the original novel Helen of Four Gates by Ethel Carnie Houldsworth (a), who was living in Slack Top, just near me, when she wrote it and the remarkable written down reminiscences of Dilys Dean that I have here about the filming. These do not exist anywhere else at this time.
Ethel Carnie Houldsworth (b) (aka Holdsworth) (pictured left in about 1907), is a fascinating character, of some considerable importance, as the first working class woman to have an extensive publishing career in Britain.
Ethel Holdsworth was Hepworth's first screen writer, one of the first people employed in this role in the world.
Information on this page submitted by Nick Wilding and others.