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June 4, 2022 ,  7pm

Cinematheque at the Cleveland Institute of Art, Peter B Lewis Theater

Admissions: $15 General Admission
$12 Member, 25 & Under, CIA, CSU

Lobby card for THE FIRST DEGREE (1923)


CFA is excited to bring The First Degree (1923) to the Cinematheque at the Cleveland Institute of Art on June 4 at 7:00 pm! Chicago experimental indie rock band Quasar Wut-Wut will appear in person to perform their original score.

In The First Degree, Frank Mayo stars as tortured, good-hearted Sam Purdy, a sheep farmer ruthlessly blackmailed by his jealous half-brother Will (Philo McCullough) over their mutual affection for Mary (Sylvia Breamer). Director Edward Sedgwick, who primarily made comedies (including Buster Keaton’s 1928 The Cameraman), ratchets the tension between the two brothers until it explodes in a dramatic courtroom encounter.

Like most feature films made during the silent era, The First Degree was presumed lost forever — until an original 35mm nitrate film print from 1923 was discovered in the collections of Chicago Film Archives in 2020. This 99-year-old Universal production has since been digitally preserved by CFA, and the four members of Quasar Wut-Wut (who brought it back to life during the movie’s 21st-century premiere last September at Chicago’s Gene Siskel Film Center) are now bringing it to Cleveland!

USA | 1923 | DCP | 64 min.
Director: Edward Sedgwick
Cast: Frank Mayo, Sylvia Breamer, Philo McCullough

Cleveland revival premiere. Promotional support provided by the Cleveland Silent Film Festival.

For more information, visit the Cleveland Cinematheque’s website or give them a call at (216) 421-7450.


Cinematheque at the Cleveland Institute of Art, Peter B Lewis Theater
Admissions:$15 General Admission
$12 Member, 25 & Under, CIA, CSU
Parking:Filmgoers can park for free in Lot 73 and in the Institute's annex lot and should enter CIA via nearby Entrance C.
Additional Information:All Cinematheque moviegoers are required to show proof of Covid vaccination and a photo ID upon entering CIA. This is in addition to having their temperature taken via a touchless device and wearing a mask for the duration of their visit. Learn more under the "Vaccination Requirement: Visitors to CIA" section at