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The Road to Ruin (1928)

A controversial, low-budget drama about the life of a young teenage girl that goes on the "road to ruin." Sally is a 16-year-old New York City teen who, neglected by her parents, takes up ... See full summary »


Norton S. Parker


Willis Kent (story), Norton S. Parker (scenario and dialogue)




Cast overview:
Helen Foster ... Sally Canfield
Grant Withers ... Don Hughes
Florence Turner ... Mrs. Canfield
Charles Miller Charles Miller ... Mr. Canfield
Virginia Roye Virginia Roye ... Eve Terrell
Thomas Carr Thomas Carr ... Jimmy Canfield (as Tommy Carr)
Don Rader Don Rader ... Al
Eddie Dunn Eddie Dunn ... Strip Poker Player (as Ed Dunn)


A controversial, low-budget drama about the life of a young teenage girl that goes on the "road to ruin." Sally is a 16-year-old New York City teen who, neglected by her parents, takes up smoking and drinking, engages in affairs with a series of older men, gets arrested by the police during a strip poker game, is sent home only to discover later that she's pregnant, and after getting an illegal abortion, the words "The Wages of Sin is Death" inexpliably appear over her bed in fire. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


THE BARNUM OF ALL JAZZ PICTURES (original poster - all caps) See more »









Release Date:

23 March 1928 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mulheres Viciosas See more »


Box Office


$2,500 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


| (DVD) (cut)

Sound Mix:

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Did You Know?


According to the widow of Norton S. Parker, Helen Foster kept a bottle of bootleg whiskey just out of camera range to keep herself "half-smashed" during the strip poker scenes. See more »


Remade as The Road to Ruin (1934) See more »

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User Reviews

Better Than Average Exploitation Film
7 August 2017 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

The Road to Ruin (1928)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Sally (Helen Foster) is a sweet and innocent girl who hasn't even kissed anyone. She starts hanging out with Eve who tells her that there's nothing wrong with a little kiss. In order to get Sally prepared, Even offers up some booze and before long the innocent Sally is drinking, smoking, kissing, partying and eventually this leads to sex. Before Sally knows it she's pregnant and the guy wants her to have an abortion.

THE ROAD TO RUIN was remade in 1934 and that sound version is certainly better know and more widely available but thankfully this original has turned up and is now making the rounds. I was surprised to see how entertaining this movie was as it was certainly rather generic but at the same time it was actually well-made and featured a pretty good lead performance. Of course, the 41-minute running time helped keep things moving.

It's also worth noting that the director, Dorothy Davenport, was a female so it's interesting to have this being directed by a woman. The film's story is pretty basic and there's certainly no character development as Sally pretty much goes from one scene to the next trying something different and becoming more of a "sinful" person. I thought what made the film work was that Foster was so believable in the part and for the most part I thought she turned in a good performance.

This film's subject matter is a bit darker than a couple of the other silent exploitation films that I've seen. The abortion matter is right in your face and there's no question that the film goes after parents for not educating their kids like they should. There's certainly nothing great here but if you're interesting in these type of exploitation movies then it's certainly worth watching.

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