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At the Altar (1909)

 -  Short | Drama  -  25 February 1909 (USA)
5.8
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Ratings: 5.8/10 from 39 users  
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At the Italian boarding house the male boarders were all smitten with the charms of Minnie, the landlady's pretty daughter, but she was of a poetic turn of mind and her soul soared above ... See full summary »

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Title: At the Altar (1909)

At the Altar (1909) on IMDb 5.8/10

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Cast

Credited cast:
Marion Leonard ...
David Miles ...
Charles Inslee ...
Barry O'Moore ...
Giuseppe Cassella (as Herbert Yost)
Anita Hendrie ...
Dorothy West ...
Minnie's Friend / Dinner Guest
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Linda Arvidson
Clara T. Bracy
Kate Bruce
John R. Cumpson ...
Dinner Guest
George Gebhardt ...
Dinner Guest
Charles Gorman
...
Arthur V. Johnson ...
Policeman
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Storyline

At the Italian boarding house the male boarders were all smitten with the charms of Minnie, the landlady's pretty daughter, but she was of a poetic turn of mind and her soul soared above plebeianism and her aspirations were romantic. Most persistent among her suitors was Grigo, a coarse Sicilian, whose advances were odiously repulsive. The arrival at the boarding house from the old country of Giuseppe Cassella, the violinist, filled the void in her yearning heart. Romantic, poetic and a talented musician, Giuseppe was indeed a desirable husband for Minnie. All this, of course, filled Grigo with bitter hatred and he vows vengeance, which you may be sure he will work with extreme subtlety. All preparations are made for the wedding, and when the day arrives Grigo is ready for it. He has contrived an infernal machine with a pistol so arranged that its explosion means death to anyone standing in front of it. The little church is decorated in honor of the affair and Grigo, with subterfuge, ... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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Short | Drama

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25 February 1909 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Only Fair, But Could Easily Have Been Better
22 November 2004 | by (Ohio) – See all my reviews

This short drama is of only fair quality, but it could easily have been better. As is the case with many pre-1910 dramas, the characters really have no depth, and are often indistinct, which lessens the impact of even the most dramatic plot developments. The story-telling likewise is mostly satisfactory, but it leaves some details a bit obscure.

The story is similar to a few other Griffith features from the same period in his career, in which he seemed to take an unusual interest in villainous characters who plotted unnecessarily elaborate, and often implausible, means of exacting revenge on their real or imagined enemies. In this case, it is a rejected suitor who concocts the cruel plan.

The story does produce some real tension and suspense, but it takes altogether too long in setting things up, and then it does not capitalize on the really dramatic moments, which could have been played to better effect. Not much later in his career, of course, Griffith would be much better able to take advantage of such scenes for all they were worth. Some of his similar early features, like "An Awful Moment" or "The Cord of Life" are a little better, though with the same plausibility problems.


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