Description (from Amazon.com)
The first full-length gangster picture ever made according to its director, Raoul Walsh, who would later make “The Roaring Twenties,” “High Sierra,” “The Bowery” and “White Heat.” “Regeneration” is a powerful slum melodrama produced in 1915 on location in the lower east side of New York City, with a gaggle of authentic low-life types performing alongside professional actors.
New York gangs have rarely been as realistically depicted as in this vivid, grungy 1915 melodrama. Aside from its status as one of the earliest gangster pictures, Regeneration is the first feature in the long directorial career of Raoul Walsh, whose marvelously energetic and manly adventures brightened Hollywood’s Golden Age. The plot is a stock tale of a hood (Rockliffe Fellowes, who has a true mug’s face) reformed by a social worker (Anna Q. Nilsson), but Walsh got the grime of the slums into the very grain of the photography. He once explained, “I went down around the waterfront and around the docks and into the saloons and got all kinds of gangster types, people with terrible faces, hiding in doorways.” You can almost smell the beer slopping out of the pail when the hero (as a boy) brings home his cruel stepfather’s alcoholic sustenance from the tavern.