Milestone Films

Shoes (by Lois Weber)

$23.95 $29.95

Click here to stream now on:

Eva Meyer is poor shop girl working at a five-and-dime. She is the sole wage earner for three younger sisters, a mother who struggles to hold everything together, and a father who prefers beer and penny dreadfuls to work. Each week, Eva returns to her cold-water flat and dutifully hands over her meager earnings to her mother. But her wages barely cover the grocer’s bill and cannot provide for decent clothing. With only cardboard to patch the holes in the soles of her shoes, Eva’s life becomes harder with each rainy day and every splinter. In constant pain and with no solution in sight, the disheartened girl considers the uninvited advances of Charlie, a cad with clearly dishonorable intentions.

So begins Lois Weber's SHOES, perhaps her finest masterpiece and one of the great feminist films in the history of cinema.

Whenever the press reports on the current dearth of women directors, there is mention made of Lois Weber, the most successful female filmmaker of her time and a major influence on silent cinema. She directed and wrote many groundbreaking films — dramas that combined social and political critiques with moving personal narratives — but because her finest films have long been unavailable and others have been poorly presented, Weber’s reputation has always quickly retreated back into the dustbin of history.

Together, with the recent publication of Shelley Stamp’s Lois Weber in Early Hollywood (University of California Press), Milestone is working to reinstall Weber into the pantheon of great filmmakers. Thanks to the incredible restoration work of the EYE Filmmuseum in Amsterdam, Milestone celebrates the film's 100th anniversary with a release that will be an important addition to every women's studies and every film history course.

Weber adapted her script for Shoes closely from a short story by Stella Wynne Herron published in the January 1, 1916 issue of Collier’s. Herron’s inspiration for her story came from social reformer Jane Addams’s 1912 book on prostitution A New Conscience and an Ancient Evil, which Herron quoted in her epigraph: “When the shoes became too worn to endure a third soling and she possessed but 90 cents toward a new pair, she gave up the struggle; to use her own contemptuous phrase, she ‘sold out for a new pair of shoes.’”

Weber weaves a beautifully simple story with a technique much celebrated in post-WWII Italy as neorealism. Shooting exteriors around Los Angeles — including a remarkable scene in Pershing Square and the actual front of Woolworth’s on Broadway — and meticulously recreating a Five and Dime Store interior, Weber created a documentary feel of a young woman's life unmatched by any film of the era. The director’s brand-new discovery, sixteen-year-old Mary MacLaren (resembling a young Jennifer Lawrence) is the embodiment of youthful innocence and too-early world-weariness. Much like the 1912 English play “Hindle Wakes,” Shoes is a plea for women’s equality (women’s suffrage was still a hard-fought political goal in both countries), but where one celebrated a woman’s right to sexual freedom, Weber’s film portrays the reality and tragedy of a shop girl in modern society.

The Shoes restoration by the Eye Filmmuseum in Amsterdam combined a Dutch nitrate print and a 1930s American “comedic” reissue of the film called Unshod Maiden found at the Library of Congress. Thanks to the 2016 discovery of the original script and intertitles in the 16mm microfilm files at NBC/Universal, the Milestone edition more closely reflects the original film. Prominent musicians and composers Donald Sosin and Mimi Rabson have created a mesmerizing and incredibly moving score to accompany Shoes.

Blu-rays and DVDs of Shoes include:

  • A commentary track by Lois Weber expert Shelley Stamp
  • Unshod Maiden, 1932 spoof of Shoes
  • Richard Koszarski’s 1971 audio interview with Mary MacLaren
  • EYE Filmmuseum's before-and-after video and original Dutch intro to Shoes
  • 1911 short film The Price, directed by and starring Weber and Phillips Smalley (13 minutes).



 An Explanation of Home, Classroom, and Public Performance Rights

Individuals and non-profit institutions purchasing at the DVD, DVD-R, or Blu-ray rate — or streaming at published rental and sales prices — are authorized to use the film only for private home screening and legitimate classroom showing (a regularly scheduled class with an instructor present), per the United States Copyright Law. You can learn more about the distinction between classroom and public performance screenings here.


US and Canadian nonprofit educational institutions that wish to show a film publicly outside of a scheduled class need to purchase DVDs, DVD-Rs, and Blu-rays at the institutional rate — which grants 3-year in-house streaming rights and an on-site public performance license. This in-house streaming license is for a term of three years from the date of purchase and grants the purchasing institution the right to stream over a single secure server with a password-protected connection. Streaming access must be strictly limited to currently enrolled students, faculty, and staff. Streaming rights extensions can be negotiated with Milestone after the initial three-year term has lapsed. Milestone retains the right to terminate this agreement at any time. No broadcast, Internet or other rights are granted or implied. These rights are for on-site use only per the license agreement. 

Similarly, US and Canadian nonprofit educational institutions that wish to show a film publicly outside of a scheduled class via Milestone’s streaming site must contact Milestone to arrange a separate public performance license. For more information, please email 

US and Canadian nonprofit educational institutions that wish to screen a DVD, DVD-R, or Blu-ray they already own in an open showing must purchase a public performance license. For more information, please email 

The purchase of DVDs, DVD-Rs, and Blu-rays at the institutional rate by anyone outside of a North American non-profit educational institution does not grant rights for public performance or streaming.

Any continuous or loop screenings as part of a museum exhibition must also be licensed separately. Inquiries must be negotiated directly with Milestone by emailing

Information for Exhibitors Screening DCPs and Film Prints

All bookings must be made by phone or email correspondence with Amy Heller (201.767.3117 or to negotiate terms and insure a screening copy is available. An order is only finalized when Milestone sends a written confirmation.

DCPs are shipped insured for their cost via Federal Express or UPS and must be returned the same way or by an equivalent method. Shipping and handling charges for outgoing DCPs appear on your invoice. The immediate return or transshipment (as directed) of all DCPs is your responsibility.

DCPs should be returned to:

Milestone Film & Video
38 George Street
Harrington Park, New Jersey 07640-0128
United States 

35mm and 16mm prints are shipped insured for their cost via Federal Express or UPS and must be returned the same way or by an equivalent method. Please do not ship prints back via US Mail. Exhibitor pays to ship both ways. Shipping and handling charges for outgoing prints appear on your invoice. The immediate return of all prints is your responsibility.

Prints should be returned insured for $1,000 to:

Iron Mountain
Attn: Milestone Account
235 Main Street
Little Falls, NJ 07424

For public screenings, advertising materials can be requested by contacting

Milestone is the exclusive licensor for all the titles in this catalog, all of which are available here in their complete versions.


Or you might like...

Recently viewed