An Unconving Attempt to Capitalize on a Cuban Location
Pressure from the Motion Picture Patents Company to stifle competition led IMP to relocate to Cuba for four months, with Thomas Ince as one of the directors, as I outline in my biography of him. Using the Cuban locations allowed convincing exteriors in many films, but a few cases attempted more than the location allowed, The Lighthouse Keeper (1911) was a thoroughly unconvincing melodrama of romantic rivalry in a fishing village. Polly (Mary Pickford) is courted by two men, but when one tries to force his kisses upon her, the other, Tom (William E. Shay), comes to her rescue. They are married, and are out in the fishing boat one day when a storm comes up. The drunken rival tries to stop the lighthouse keeper from his duties, fighting him. The real problem with The Lighthouse Keeper is the simple lack of a suitable location, combining straight horizontal shots of the lighthouse stairs, the fight, and the waves crashing against the shore. There is no shot showing the characters and the lighthouse, only a thoroughly unconvincing paper-mache cut out with a light.
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