Movie Review: The Daughter of Dawn (1920)
The Daughter of Dawn (1920)
Director: Norbert Myles
Cast: Belo Cozad, Em-koy-e-tie, Hunting Horse
Synopsis: Two Indian braves compete for the love of a Kiowa chief’s daughter.
No, The Daughter of Dawn isn’t about a woman with a mum called Dawn, but the story of an Indian squaw (Esther LeBarre) with the name of Daughter of Dawn, the love of whom is competed for by two young braves. She favours White Eagle (White Parker), but Black Wolf has horses, which is strong currency in the Indian world, apparently. He does have a tendency to lurk just beyond the scope of other character’s peripheral vision, though, listening in to their private conversations. He’s a rather portly chap, as well. Daughter of Dawn’s dad (Hunting Horse) just happens to be the tribe’s chief, and decides the best way of deciding which man should marry his daughter is to hold a contest to see which of them is stupid – er, brave – enough to throw himself off a cliff. One of them does so, while the other bottles it and is banished from the tribe. Needless to say, he’s not too thrilled about this and vows revenge.
The Daughter of Dawn is unique in a number of ways. Made in 1920, it was never commercially released, and believed lost until a print was discovered in 2005. It was finally released in 2012, ninety-eight years after it was made, which has to be the longest period ever between completion of filming and release date. The Daughter of Dawn also features no white characters at all, and the entire cast is made up of Kiowa and Commanche Indians. Sadly, The Daughter of Dawn is rather ponderous, with a turgid storyline and hopelessly inexpressive acting from its amateur cast.
(Reviewed 13th February 2016)