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The Root of Evil (1912)

A rich man's daughter marries against his will, and is disinherited. A manipulative attorney contrives to keep the rich man poisoned against his daughter in order to make himself heir.





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Credited cast:
William J. Butler ...
The Wealthy Man
Dorothy Bernard ...
The Wealthy Man's Daughter
The Secretary
J. Jiquel Lanoe ...
The Confidential Secretary
The Bailiff
Harry Hyde ...
The Faithful Servant
The Doctor
John T. Dillon ...
The Doctor (as Jack Dillon)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:


The daughter of a wealthy man has clandestinely married his secretary. Their secret is discovered by the man's confidential adviser, an unscrupulous, designing villain, who hoped to marry her himself, simply to obtain the father's wealth. Of course, he makes known his discovery, and is effusive in his sympathy for such a misalliance, delicately urging the father on to extreme measures, which resulted in his disowning his daughter and making a new will in favor of the adviser. In their new home, the young husband contracts an incurable disease, and five years after her departure from her father's home, we find her the widowed mother of a small child. Meanwhile, the schemer has more strongly ingratiated himself in the esteem of the father. The daughter in desperation makes a vain appeal to her father, but is repulsed. The shock, however, is too much for the old man, and he is stricken dangerously ill. His trusted servant feels that now is the time to effect a reconciliation and goes ... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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melodrama | See All (1) »


Drama | Short





Release Date:

18 March 1912 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

The interest doesn't center in any one character; it is merged in the whole
15 October 2016 | by (Chicago) – See all my reviews

In our opinion, the most interesting picture of the week. It seems, at the start, the same old situation. The rich man's daughter has secretly married her father's secretary and he finds it out and disowns her. Then we have the widow and her child coming home in time to thwart the designs of the man who is scheming to obtain the old man's fortune. It is apparently the same old story and yet how different, how much more humanly convincing than the best pictures of this story that we can remember. Its vitality comes from the peculiar characteristics of the persons; they are not types, but new individuals. These persons dramatically affect the narrative, the path the story takes toward its denouement, in a willful, lawless and yet entirely natural way. It seems inevitable. The interest doesn't center in any one character; it is merged in the whole. Yet the characters are very clearly cut and two of them (the child and the designing "legal adviser" of the old man) are intensely interesting studies. The man who plays this schemer seems to be a new player among the Biograph people and, if so, he is a noteworthy addition to their forces. We might add that a good player is fortunate in starting with the Biograph Company. He has a better chance of making a reputation than in most places. - The Moving Picture World, March 30, 1912

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