Cast & Crew
Gabriel, a pastor, denounces hypocrisy from the pulpit, thus incurring the enmity of his jaded, modern congregation. After reprimanding a choir singer for reading a newspaper in church, Gabriel notices a reproduction in the paper of "Truth," a painting by Faugeron, depicting truth in the image of a naked woman. Gabriel then falls asleep and dreams that, as an ascetic, he begins a difficult uphill path to righteousness. During the course of his dream, many of the hypocritical images of society are revealed. Only the choir singer, who is clothed as a nun, a fallen woman and a child are shown to be capable of gazing at the truth. Gabriel is found dead in his church after the dream, and only the fallen woman and the choir singer mourn. The next day, the town's newspaper reveals the parishioners' shock at finding a newspaper--a sacrilege on the Sabbath--in their dead minister's lap.
Although the nudity was tastefully done (it was passed by The National Board of Censors), it was still banned in Ohio and caused riots in New York. The mayor of Boston demanded that every frame displaying the naked figure of truth be hand-painted to clothe the unidentified actress who portrayed her. One historian suggested that Weber herself played the part.
The Hypocrites was re-issued in 1916. After considerable attention was given to this film by the press and local censorship boards, the nudity of Margaret Edwards in the role of "Truth" was deemed acceptable in most parts of the country. Cameraman Dal Clawson reportedly invented visual techniques used in the "Truth" scenes, which were filmed by George Hill.