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The House of Darkness (1913)

 -  Short | Drama  -  10 May 1913 (USA)
6.1
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 170 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 2 critic

A potentially violent patient in an insane asylum is calmed when he hears a nurse playing the piano. But shortly afterwards he breaks free, eludes his pursuers, and acquires a gun. He soon ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview:
...
The Doctor
...
The Doctor's Wife
Charles Hill Mailes ...
The Lunatic aka The 'Unfortunate' Patient
...
The Nurse
Christy Cabanne ...
Attack Victim (as W. Christy Cabanne)
...
Asylum Guard
William Elmer ...
Asylum Guard (as Billy Elmer)
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Storyline

A potentially violent patient in an insane asylum is calmed when he hears a nurse playing the piano. But shortly afterwards he breaks free, eludes his pursuers, and acquires a gun. He soon comes to a house where a young wife is home alone, and there is a tense confrontation. Written by Snow Leopard

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Short | Drama

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10 May 1913 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Featured in Kingdom of Shadows (1998) See more »

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Brief description of content
13 May 2000 | by (Seattle) – See all my reviews

Like many of Griffith's Biograph shorts, this one-reel drama addresses a social problem: mental illness. In an asylum, one patient is prone to fits of violence, and the tension heightens when he gets his hands on a pistol. However, he is soothed by piano music and indeed the music is so wonderfully effective that before long he is entirely cured of his madness. The notion was probably less simplistic in 1913 than it is today; Griffith's moral (all of the Biograph shorts seem to have a moral) is simply that mental illness should be treated, like any disease, with observation, testing, and compassionate treatment.


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