Traffic in Souls (1913)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

A newly-arrived immigrant girl becomes the pawn of "white slavers" until rescued from their clutches by an earnest young cop. Pretty heavy subject matter for the time, this was a blatant "exploitation" movie in the guise of a social document, which implied far more than it ever delivered.
Classics , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Independent Moving Pictures Co. of America


Matt Moore
as Off. Burke
Edward Boeing
as Swedish Cadet
Charles Burbridge
as Inspector Smith
Jane Gail
as Mary
William Welsh
as William Trubus
Charles Green
as Butler
Howard Crampton
as The Go-Between
Laura Huntley
as A Country Girl
Mrs. Hudson Lyston
as Mrs. Trubus
Jack Poulton
as R.R. Cadet
William Powers
as The Emigrant Girls'Brother
William H. Turner
as Mary's Father
George Loane Tucker
as Wireless Operator
Fred Turner
as Isaac Barton
Arthur Hunter
as The Cadet
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Critic Reviews for Traffic in Souls

All Critics (1)

"Traffic in Souls" started the trend in Hollywood to make sexy pictures...

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Audience Reviews for Traffic in Souls

Traffic in Souls is a film interesting solely for its historical value. It's one of the first feature-length American movies not based on a book or play. It was wildly successful, putting Universal Movies on the map as a major player. It purported to address the problem of forced prostitution, while chiefly benefiting from the prurient interest the subject generated and delivering nothing that could remotely be described as titillating, so in that sense, it qualifies as the first sexploitation movie. The early portion of the movie features a less mannered acting style than one is used to from movies of this era, although once the plot winds up, it quickly descends into "Woe is me!" rubbish. It's pretty much rushing to save the girl tied to the train tracks, only this time the hero is saving her before she has to have sex with someone. There are two female leads, and neither one of them made a movie after the age of 30. Matt Moore, the male lead, made movies into his late sixties. So Hollywood hasn't changed all that much (Moore, incidentally, was hilarious as the banjo-strumming Kruger in The Front Page, previously reviewed).

As one of the very first American films ever made, the years have treated spectacularly well Traffic in Souls, a picture which is thin on characterization, but which is rather well filmed and surprisingly fast paced, especially for the time, plus its important subject matter got a needed serious treatment here. It is a century old film, but it is, against all odds, very much watchable and quite respectable even today.

David Lazovic
David Lazovic

Very melodramatic film about the so-called "white slavery" deal (a moral panic about forced prostitution, surrounding the increased visibility of young women in jobs of retail, etc.). Extraordinary film, historically and socially very important, but it ultimately says: Don't worry, the police have it covered.

Courtney Smith
Courtney Smith

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