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A music teacher is in love with Helen, one of his students, but she rejects him. In his anger he joins a communist group who plan to blow up a rich capitalist's house. When he realizes it's Helen's house, he tries to stop the plan.





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Credited cast:
Arthur V. Johnson ...
Herr von Schmidt
Marion Leonard ...
Helen Walker
Frank Powell ...
Mr. Walker
David Miles ...
Communist Leader
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Linda Arvidson ...
At Party Meeting
Clara T. Bracy
John R. Cumpson ...
At Party Meeting
Adele DeGarde ...
At Party Meeting
Gladys Egan
Anita Hendrie ...
Tom Moore ...
George Nichols
Herbert Prior ...
At Party Meeting / Servant
At Party Meeting


The romance of a poor German music teacher. Herr Von Schmitt, a young musician, comes to this country from Germany, and ekes a living teaching violin. At home he has become imbued with the doctrines of Karl Marx, the promoter of the communistic principles of socialism, the alleged Utopian scheme of universal co-operation, which in time, and under the control of intemperate minds becomes absolute anarchy. Von Schmitt, however, succeeding in a moderate degree to procure comfort by his art, is gradually being weaned from his former covetous spirit, and turns a deaf ear to the persuasive arguments of his former companions. Among his pupils is Miss Helen Walker, the daughter of a wealthy capitalist. A strong friendship springs up between teacher and pupil, which ripens into love before they are aware of it. Von Schmitt, unable to restrain himself any longer, during a lesson at his studio declares his love, and is, of course, owing to the disparity of rank, spurned. Enraged by the seemingly... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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Release Date:

18 March 1909 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Filmed over two days. See more »

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User Reviews

When love goes boom...
10 September 2010 | by (www.2020-movie-reviews.com) – See all my reviews

Strapping young Arthur V. Johnson makes an unlikely music teacher in this early drama from D. W. Griffith. One of his pupils is a wealthy young slip of a girl who rejects his advances, and whose father understandably takes offence at her music tutor trying to pluck her strings. Arthur, who for some reason plays a character called Herr von Schmidt (presumably because no all-American boy would ever consider blowing things up in a fit of romantic pique) impulsively joins an anarchist group (as you do) and, wouldn't you know it, his name's first out of the hat when his new mates are deciding who's next to get the honour of blowing up rich people.

Schmidt and his accomplice lurk suspiciously outside their intended victim's home for a while before the other guy sneaks into the basement with a bomb shaped like a black ball. Seeing that bomb makes you wonder whether any like that ever really existed or were merely the invention of comic strip cartoonists and early filmmakers. Anyway, it's black and round and has an impossibly long fuse – honestly, you could be in the next state before it exploded – and serves as the device by which Griffith struggles to engineer a measure of suspense that resolutely refuses to develop. Needless to say, our hero finds himself tied up next to the bomb after he discovers the home is that of the woman he loves, but everything works out for the best in the end.

This certainly isn't one of Griffith's best, even for such an early example. At a little under 16 minutes, the film contains far too much padding, and it's a little unclear why the young girl and her wealthy dad are suddenly so enamoured of our hero – he was only there because he wanted to blow things up, after all. Anyway, many of Griffith's regulars are here – Marion Leonard and Frank Powell both have sizeable roles, while Linda Arvidson (Griffith's wife), Gladys Egan, Owen Moore and Mack Sennett are among those who provide the atmosphere.

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