The Red Kimono

The Red Kimono

Film poster
Directed by Walter Lang
Dorothy Davenport (uncredited)
Produced by Dorothy Davenport (as Mrs. Wallace Reid)
Written by Adela Rogers St. Johns (story)
Dorothy Arzner (adaptation)
Malcolm Stuart Boylan (intertitles)
Starring Priscilla Bonner
Carl Miller
Virginia Pearson
Tyrone Power, Sr.
Mary Carr
Cinematography James Diamond
Mrs. Wallace Reid Productions
Distributed by Vital Exchanges Incorporated
Release dates
  • November 16, 1925 (1925-11-16)
Running time
7 reels
1,937.00 meters
Country United States
Language Silent
English intertitles

The Red Kimono is a 1925 American silent film drama about prostitution produced by Dorothy Davenport (billed as Mrs. Wallace Reid) and starring Priscilla Bonner.

Production background

The film is notable today for being one of the few independent productions produced and written by women. This is the third of Davenport's "social conscience" releases, preceded by Human Wreckage (1923) on the topic of drug addiction (released five months after Wallace Reid's death from morphine), and Broken Laws (1924) about excessive mother-love.

The film is based on a real case of prostitution that took place in New Orleans in 1917. This film, billing itself as a true story, used the real name of the woman played by Priscilla Bonner who as a consequence sued producer Dorothy Davenport for a hefty sum in court and won.[1] The case, Melvin v Reid has been cited recently in the emerging "right to be forgotten" cases around the world as an early example of one's right to leave a past one wishes to forget. In the ruling of the California Appellate Court (Melvin v. Reid, 112 Cal.App. 285, 297 P. 91 (1931)) the Court stated, "any person living a life of rectitude has that right to happiness which includes a freedom from unnecessary attacks on his character, social standing or reputation."

As with Davenport's earlier Human Wreckage in 1924, this film was banned in the United Kingdom by the British Board of Film Censors in 1926.[2]


Preservation status

A copy of this film is preserved at the Library of Congress.[3] A DVD edition was released in the early 2000s.


  1. Friedman, Lawrence Meir (2007). "The Red Kimono [sic]: The Saga of Gabriel Darley Melvin". Guarding Life's Dark Secrets: Legal and Social Controls over Reputation, Propriety, and Privacy. Stanford University Press. pp. 217–225. ISBN 978-0-8047-5739-3.
  2. The Red Kimono at the database
  3. Catalog of Holdings The American Film Institute Collection and The United Artist Collection at The Library of Congress by The American Film Institute, c. 1978
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