Bill is a tower man who sets and resets the switches at a junction of the main line. He has a wife and a little girl. One of the engineers on the road whose headquarters are in the same ... See full summary »
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Cast

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Bill - the Switchman
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Bill's Wife
Edna May Weick ...
Bill's Little Daughter
James Gordon ...
The Engineer
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Storyline

Bill is a tower man who sets and resets the switches at a junction of the main line. He has a wife and a little girl. One of the engineers on the road whose headquarters are in the same town, is something of a local sport. The young wife has occasion to compare the respective incomes of this engineer with her hard working husband to the latter's disadvantage, and the engineer invites her to go with him to the Engineer's Association Picnic. Her husband objects, but she goes anyway. After the train has stopped a little way out for water, she gets out of the train and starts to walk back. In the meantime the good husband has kept to his work and also watched over baby. But he did not notice that it had wandered out of the tower, down to the tracks. The mother finding that both baby and husband are missing, starts out to find them. The excursion train is now starting for home; the engineer, much put out, Bill switches a freight train on to a siding to leave the main line clear for the ... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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Genres:

Drama | Short

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Release Date:

4 August 1911 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

One wonders whether the people really prefer a picture like this
2 April 2016 | by (Chicago) – See all my reviews

It is a living photograph that opens this strong and wholly praiseworthy picture of a noble, human act. Indeed, what the switchman did was as fine a deed of heroism as was ever done. Such a picture as this is a rebuke to much that is thrown upon the screen. Is it the photoplay's first business to show us that men and women can be base, criminal, fugitives from justice or that men can be human and are so, once in a while? One wonders whether the people really prefer a picture like this or one that is well entitled, "The Fugitive's Second Crime." "The Switchman's Tower" is no sentimental picture, nor is it a picture of angels, it is full of human truth. It's a picture of railroad life, and much more interesting than the man chase pictures. The characters are all clear cut and realistic. Herbert Prior, one of the most competent photoplayers in the business, is the switchman; Mary Fuller plays his wife and the engineer is James Gordon. The switchman's little girl (Edna May Weick) also deserves praise. The acting of all, including the fireman, is perfect and the settings could hardly be improved. The camera man always has just enough of the engine or train or whatever to make a perfect background and he manages to catch the very life of every scene, except, to be painfully exact, just one; it fills only a foot or two of the reel, when the switchman is looking out of the tower while his wife is talking with the engineer. - The Moving Picture World, August 19, 1911


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