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His Trust: The Faithful Devotion and Self-Sacrifice of an Old Negro Servant (1911)

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A Confederate officer is called off to war. He leaves his wife and daughter in the care of George, his faithful Negro servant. After the officer is killed in an exciting battle sequence, ... See full summary »

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Cast

Credited cast:
Wilfred Lucas ...
George
Dell Henderson ...
Colonel Frazier
...
Colonel Frazier's Wife
Edith Haldeman ...
The Fraziers' Child
Dorothy West ...
The Daughter as an Adult
Harry Hyde ...
The Daughter's Sweetheart
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Linda Arvidson
Dorothy Bernard
Kate Bruce
Adele DeGarde
Gladys Egan
Grace Henderson
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Storyline

A Confederate officer is called off to war. He leaves his wife and daughter in the care of George, his faithful Negro servant. After the officer is killed in an exciting battle sequence, George continues in his caring duties, faithful to his trust. Events continue to turn for the worse when invading Yankee soldiers arrive to loot and torch the widow's home. George saves the officer's daughter and battle sword by braving the flames. Written by Thomas McWilliams <tgm@netcom.com>

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Genres:

Short | Drama | War

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Country:

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Release Date:

16 January 1911 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

His Trust  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Connections

Referenced in The Birth of a Nation (1915) See more »

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User Reviews

 
"When war winged its wide desolation"
18 November 2008 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

'His Trust (1911)' was always going to prove difficult for modern audiences, particularly with D.W. Griffith's reputation. Events can take on entirely different connotations when the viewer is consciously watching out for hints of racial prejudice. For example, when a white servant rescues the family of his employer, it's viewed as noble devotion to his fellow man; yet when a black man does it (or, more accurately, a white man in black-face), many simply consider it racist propaganda, or showing support for slavery. I think that this is a grossly superficial stance. Setting aside the rather ridiculous spectacle of white men performing in black-face, I thought that Griffith portrayed George (played by Wilfred Lucas), the trusted African-American servant of a Confederate soldier (Dell Henderson), with sympathy and humility. There's obviously a common bond between George and Col. Frazier, a mutual trust that overcomes racial boundaries. George does not rescue Frazier's daughter and memorial sword because he's a blindly-devoted slave, but because he's a human being, and that's what any decent human being would do.

'His Trust' was one of several Civil War shorts that Griffith directed, and it was shortly thereafter followed by a sequel, 'His Trust Fulfilled (1911),' which I haven't yet seen. 'In the Border States (1910)' is easily the better effort, mostly because it humanised both sides of the conflict, whereas here the despicable Yankees arrive only to loot a fallen soldier's home and burn it to the ground. Nevertheless, Griffit manages to build up a fair amount of pathos, particularly as Col. Frazier's wife (Claire McDowell), daughter by her side, turns to face the smouldering shell of her house, as its charred foundations tumble to the ground. An early Civil War battle scene emphasises the chaos of warfare, with smoke and gunfire battering the screen at random intervals, and Griffith underplays the deaths of soldiers left, right and centre, as though acknowledging the turmoil of combat. This isn't one of the director's finest hours, but it's a worthy enough Civil War tale, and, if you leave your racial preconceptions at the door, there's plenty to appreciate.


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