A City Wolf (Atlas)
The story of A City Wolf was already clichéd when it first opened–100 years ago today.
Narrativizing the widespread anxieties about the changes wrought by the rapid modernization and urbanization of the early 20th century, it contrasts the urban with the rural in the figures of “a city libertine” [the wolf]” and “a pure girl” whose father is a French Canadian trapper.
Synopsis of A City Wolf, published in The Moving Picture World 8, No. 2 (14 January 1911): 100.
The story itself is most interesting because it deals with the struggles of a pure girl, the daughter of a French-Canadian trapper, against the wiles of a city libertine who would ruin her. Local color is added to the narrative by the introduction of many characters familiar to those who have visited the “Big Moose” region such as Tom Baxter, who runs the “Baxter House” and is noted for his generosity and big heart, “Jean,” the rough guide with a smooth and untroubled conscience and many others who may be found among the simple, rugged mountain folk. One of the most powerful and lasting lessons ever conveyed to moving picture film is “A City Wolf.” A story which runs the entire gamut of human emotion, literally digging down to your very soul. Besides, it has scenic features of surpassing beauty, many scenes being photographed for the first time at heavy outlay and no little risk of life and limb. Deer hunting in the Adirondacks is shown in all its natural realism while the interior settings, built in our own workshops, faithfully depict the trapper’s cabin, the mountain hotel and other inside scenes necessary to the story with minute attention to details.
The Atlas Film Company was one of many production companies that began in 1910. According to IMDB, it seems to have fallen off the map after just two years of producing films. This is not surprising. As Eileen Bowser writes of these 1910 upstarts, “all these new companies were not necessarily separate organizations, but it was to the advantage of film exchanges to appear to have a large source of supply” (The Transformation of Cinema 1907-1915, page 78).
Note the logo on the bottom right of the advertisement. The scan is pretty hard to read, but it is unmistakably the logo for the Motion Picture Distributing and Sales Company, the distribution company that Carl Laemmle organized to compete with the MPPC’s General Film Company.