Those Who Love. 1926. Australia. Directed by Paulette McDonagh. Screenplay by Paulette McDonagh. With Marie Lorraine, William Carter, Robert Purdie. DCP. 4 min.
The Cheaters. 1929. Australia. Directed by Paulette McDonagh. Screenplay by Paulette McDonagh. With Marie Lorraine, Arthur Greenaway, John Faulkner. DCP. Silent. 92 min.
The McDonagh sisters of Sydney, Australia—Isabel, Phyllis, and Paulette—bucked the system and managed to make four feature films between 1926 and 1933, including this fascinating 1929 release. With Paulette directing and writing, Phyllis acting as art director, publicist, and producer, and Isabel starring (under the name “Marie Lorraine”), this suspenseful melodrama follows the adventures of a confidence woman who gets a little too close to one of her marks. Although sound sequences were added (disastrously) in 1930 to make The Cheaters Australia’s first talkie, this new digital restoration from the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia is the silent version.