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The Gilded Spider

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The Gilded Spider
Film poster
Directed byJoe De Grasse
Screenplay byIda May Park
Based onThe Full Cup
by Ida May Park
Produced byBluebird Film Co.
StarringLon Chaney
Louise Lovely
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
  • May 8, 1916 (1916-05-08)
Running time
5 reels (50 minutes)[1]
CountryUnited States
English intertitles

The Gilded Spider is a 1916 American silent drama film directed by Joe De Grasse, written by Ida May Park and starring Lon Chaney and Louise Lovely.[2] A print exists in the Museo del Cine Pablo C. Ducros Hicken film archive.[3]


Giovanni (Lon Chaney), his wife Leonita, their daughter Elisa and his wife's mother Rosa all live in a small Italian village where Giovanni carves plaster statuettes for a living. An American millionaire named Cyrus Kirkham spots Leonita dancing and becomes obsessed with having her. During an attempt to kidnap her, Leonita jumps off the millionaire's yacht and drowns. When Kirkham goes back to America, he marries a woman named Norma Winston, who was in love with a poor man named Burton Armitage, but she marries Kirkham instead for his money. Armitage later comes into money, but he squanders it all away.

Years pass and Giovanni moves his family to America. Giovanni's daughter Elisa grows up into a young lady and becomes involved with a young artist named Paul Winston, who hires her as a model. Giovanni finds out where Kirkham lives, and plans to kidnap Kirkham's wife Norma and hold her for ransom, but his kidnap plan is foiled. Kirkham suffers a heart attack when he sees Giovanni appear at a party in his home, and when Giovanni sees his daughter Elisa dancing at the party, he loses his sanity, reliving his wife's tragic death in his mind, and jumps off the roof to his death. In the end, with Kirkham dead, Norma winds up marrying her old flame Armitage, and Paul Winston winds up with Elisa.



"The theme here presented is familiar but that might pass unnoticed if it were developed after a better fashion. The principal characters are not as well defined as could be.... Miss Lovely, we must confess, is not what one would associate with the Latin type of woman. She is pretty to the extreme, but her features are anything but Italian. Perhaps though that prettiness will triumph over the casting, it will with the trousered portion of the audience, anyway...Lon Chaney's Giovanni is a strong piece of character portrayal." --- Motion Picture News[5]

"In many ways attractive, blessed with fine types and an excellent cast, THE GILDED SPIDER brings criticism on itself by way of unprofessional construction. The story rambles considerably and gives the impression of being loose-jointed. Louise Lovely...plays well the role of Leonita...Lon Chaney also gives a good impersonation of the Italian." --- Moving Picture World

"Bluebird seems to have the idea that spending a lot of money on a production, with a good cast, is all that is required for the turning out of successful features. The Gilded Spider is a hodge-podge melodrama, expensively visualized...(it) is not on a par with the best Bluebird releases." --- Variety[6]


  1. ^ Mirsalis, John C. "The Gilded Spider". Retrieved September 26, 2020.
  2. ^ "Silent Era: The Gilded Spider". silentera. Retrieved June 24, 2008.
  3. ^ Bennett, Carl. "The Gilded Spider". Retrieved November 18, 2020.
  4. ^ Mirsalis, John C. "The Gilded Spider". Retrieved September 26, 2020.
  5. ^ Blake, Michael F. (1998). "The Films of Lon Chaney". Vestal Press Inc. Page 62. ISBN 1-879511-26-6.
  6. ^ Workman, Christopher; Howarth, Troy (2016). "Tome of Terror: Horror Films of the Silent Era". Midnight Marquee Press. p. 61. ISBN 978-1936168-68-2.
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