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The Old Actor (1912)

 |  Short, Drama  |  6 May 1912 (USA)
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Ratings: 5.7/10 from 149 users  
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An elderly actor who lives with his wife and daughter is dismissed from his acting job because he is considered to old. On his way home from the theatre he panics at the thought of telling ... See full summary »



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Credited cast:
W. Chrystie Miller ...
The Old Actor
Kate Bruce ...
The Old Actor's Wife
The Old Actor's Daughter
Edwin August ...
The Old Actor's Daughter's Sweetheart
Frank Opperman ...
The Old Beggar
Charles Hill Mailes ...
The Replacement Actor
Alfred Paget ...
A Policeman
William A. Carroll ...
The Stage Manager's Assistant
Grace Henderson ...
An Old Woman
The Messenger
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Christy Cabanne ...
At Audition (as W. Christy Cabanne)
J. Jiquel Lanoe ...
At Audition
Marguerite Marsh ...
At Audition
At Audition


An elderly actor who lives with his wife and daughter is dismissed from his acting job because he is considered to old. On his way home from the theatre he panics at the thought of telling his family the bad news and decides to disguise himself as a beggar. His daughter's beau accidentally gives him a five dollar gold piece, thinking that it was a smaller coin. A chase ensues with a policeman the daughter and her beau in hot pursuit. When caught he is recognized by his shocked daughter, but is quickly forgiven by all. Meanwhile the actor hired to replace him has already been fired and a messenger is dispatched to rehire the Old Actor to the delight of his wife, daughter and fellow actors. Written by Pamela Short

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Short | Drama





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6 May 1912 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

What Shall We Do With Our Old?
25 December 2013 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

W. Chrystie Miller was the oldest member of D.W. Griffith's stock company at Biograph. He has the title role in this two-reel story. Like WHAT SHALL WE DO WITH OUR OLD?, it asks some important questions about the needs and fears of the elderly. As is usual with many of Griffith's movies, it does not pretend to give an answer.

Miller is a respected stage actor, but when he is replaced in a show by a younger man, he sees the end of his career at hand. Noticing the wealth a local beggar has accumulated, he dresses in shabby clothes and takes up the trade himself.

This is not a well known Griffith movie, but it shows the easy skill which Griffith exhibited by this time. Working with what would nowadays be considered a stellar supporting cast (most notably Mary Pickford), Griffith fills the screen with casual action. Notice the shots backstage: while Miller is dealing with his issues, other members of the company are practicing their roles in the show.

Miller handles his role well. If to modern taste he is a bit theatrical, there is nothing odd about that. He is, after all, playing a theater actor. Miller would retire from the screen in 1914, apparently unwilling to work for Biograph without Griffith, nor move to California with Griffith. Instead, he retired to Staten Island, where he died eight years later.

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