A young, and fickle girl ( Mary Pickford ) dumps her admiring boyfriend ( Edwin August ) because she views him as a coward. Meanwhile a ruthless convict ( Alfred Paget ) has escaped and ... See full summary »





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Credited cast:
The Young Woman
The Young Woman's Ideal
The Convict
The Young Woman's Friend
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Christy Cabanne ...
Station Master / In Sports Car (as W. Christy Cabanne)
William A. Carroll ...
A Guard
Francis J. Grandon ...
A Farmer
J. Jiquel Lanoe ...
At Station
A Guard
A Guard
(as Marguerite Loveridge)
W.C. Robinson ...
A Guard


A young, and fickle girl ( Mary Pickford ) dumps her admiring boyfriend ( Edwin August ) because she views him as a coward. Meanwhile a ruthless convict ( Alfred Paget ) has escaped and takes the girl as his hostage. After a harrowing automobile and train chase, the ex-boyfriend rescues the girl and he immediately becomes her hero, which she seals with a kiss. Written by Pamela Short

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Short | Drama





Release Date:

27 May 1912 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Une bête aux abois  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Preserved paper print at Library of Congress. See more »


Featured in Hollywood (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

Mary Pickford and the Beast
12 November 2007 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

Mary Pickford is quite taken with Edwin August; in fact, he is her "ideal". But, Mr. August's refusal to get mixed up in a street brawl makes him look like a coward to Ms. Pickford. Meanwhile, convict Alfred Paget has escaped from prison; and, he is "A Beast at Bay". While Pickford and August go for a ride in her nifty 1900s automobile, criminal Paget ambushes one of his guards, taking the man's clothing and gun. Next, Pickford drops off August, still arguing he is a coward, and drives off. Alone, Pickford gets out of her car to retrieve a fallen garment; then, on-the-lam Paget moves in to carjack her. From a distance, August witnesses Pickford being taken at gunpoint - can he save his girl, and prove he's not a coward?

Another D.W. Griffith film with a criminal invading an otherwise unrelated situation; this time, the interest is heightened as August's cowardice does play well against the danger offered by convict Paget. August seems, possibly, a little more reasonable than cowardly, given the circumstance depicted; however, the characterizations are interesting and believable. The "parallel" stories have a structural reason to juxtapose.

The engine pursuit is genuinely thrilling - Griffith and his crew continue to offer great, innovative movie excitement. Mae Marsh is the best of the always fine Biograph supporting troupe; she's Pickford's best girlfriend. Pickford is fine as the demanding damsel; she plays the heroine with a relatively high level of resourcefulness - and, it's nice to see Mary Pickford in the "driver's seat"! Paget steals some acting honors, with his portrayal of the desperate convict. Look for a great scene between Paget and Pickford - at about 11:00 minutes in - Paget will touch Mary Pickford's curls, finger her lapel, and reach down to open her coat, suggesting sexual violation; it's creepily well-played.

******* A Beast at Bay (5/27/12) D.W. Griffith ~ Mary Pickford, Alfred Paget, Edwin August

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