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Nursing a Viper (1909)

 |  Short, Drama  |  4 November 1909 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.2/10 from 58 users  
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During the French Revolution, a wealthy couple lives safely by professing republican beliefs. When a mob attacks a nearby chateau an aristocrat bursts into the couple's home. They save his ... See full summary »


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Title: Nursing a Viper (1909)

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Credited cast:
Arthur V. Johnson ...
The Husband
Marion Leonard ...
The Wife
Frank Powell ...
The Viper
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Frank Evans ...
In Mob
Ruth Hart ...
Victimized Woman
James Kirkwood ...
In Mob
Henry Lehrman ...
In Mob
Fleeing Aristocrat
George Nichols ...
In Mob
Anthony O'Sullivan ...
In Mob
Billy Quirk ...
Fleeing Aristocrat
Gertrude Robinson ...
Fleeing Aristocrat
In Mob
Mabel Trunnelle ...
Victimized Woman


During the French Revolution, a wealthy couple lives safely by professing republican beliefs. When a mob attacks a nearby chateau an aristocrat bursts into the couple's home. They save his life by disguising him as a servant, but he soon forces his attentions on the wife. Hearing their struggle, the husband intervenes and, stripping the aristocrat of his disguise, thrusts him outdoors to be killed by the mob. Written by Anonymous

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Short | Drama





Release Date:

4 November 1909 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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A print of this film survives in the UCLA Film and Television Archives. See more »

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User Reviews

Rampaging the Viperous French Nobility
12 November 2007 | by (Earth) – See all my reviews

During the French Revolution, wealthy couple Arthur Johnson and Marion Leonard are among the citizens spared, from the rampaging mobs, by professing Republican beliefs. Nobleman Frank Powell flees from murderous lower class Frenchmen; arriving at Mr. Johnson and Ms. Leonard's safe Republican-leaning home, he begs for safe haven. Johnson agrees to help the desperate Noble, and he allows Powell to stay in his home, disguised as a servant. "In spite of the aristocrats seemingly Republican sentiments, the insurrectionists, with the cry, 'Give us bread', ransack the house." Still, Powell is spared. Remaining on, he reveals himself a traitor, by attacking his savior's desirous wife, Ms. Leonard. After Johnson discovers he is "Nursing a Viper", what terrible revenge might he seek?

Nobility is viperous in this "Story of the French Revolution" from director D.W. Griffith. Note that wife Leonard wears an especially HUGE cross, which is no help in deterring the lecherous Powell; obviously, he is going for the less bloody sort of necking! The French peasants are shown to be particularly bloody in this one, of several, Griffith visits to the French Revolutionary period. The screen suggests much murdering, raping, and decapitating of the French Noble class.

*** Nursing a Viper (11/4/09) D.W. Griffith ~ Frank Powell, Arthur V. Johnson, Marion Leonard

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