An isolated house in deserted area is too remote for a servant, who leaves a note, quietly exits the back door, and puts the key under the mat. Alone in the house is a mother and her infant... See full summary »

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Cast

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Storyline

An isolated house in deserted area is too remote for a servant, who leaves a note, quietly exits the back door, and puts the key under the mat. Alone in the house is a mother and her infant. A tramp watches the servant leave, then begins to skulk. The woman sees him outside as he discovers the latchkey. She phones her husband, who's working in town, and he jumps into a car idling in front of his office. He races toward home while the car's owner (and the police) are in pursuit. The tramp grabs a knife and heads up the stairs toward the defenseless woman. Can the husband elude the police long enough to rescue her or will the tramp have his way? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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Short | Drama | Thriller

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6 July 1913 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Face Downstairs  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Though not a direct adaptation, the premise of the story was strongly influenced by the play Au Téléphone (At the Telephone) by André de Lorde, first published in 1902 and a staple of the Theatre du Grand Guignol in Paris. A contemporary of Weber and Smalley, D.W. Griffith, adapted the play to film as The Lonely Villa (1909) and, taking even more liberties with the premise, in An Unseen Enemy (1912). See more »

Quotes

The Wife: [looks out the window] A tramp is prowling around the house!
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Connections

Referenced in Hollywood: Pioneers (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

 
A very effective example of an early thriller
28 March 2012 | by (Edinburgh, Scotland, UK) – See all my reviews

As the title may give away this film is a very early example of the suspense thriller. In it a woman is terrorised by a malevolent tramp. He stalks her while she is trapped helplessly in her house with her child. Her husband rushes to the rescue with the police in hot pursuit of him for stealing a car to race home.

It's a tight and well constructed film. It has very well paced editing that alternates from the scene in the house and the high speed car chase. It's shot with some skill too, with some inventive shots. There is a dynamic action shot taken from a moving car, including some stylish shots of the pursuers in the rear view mirror. Given the primitive equipment in those days this is pretty impressive. It also makes great use of the triptych split-screen effect which allows us to see three separate scenes simultaneously, conveying a lot of information simultaneously. This is one of the first examples of this technique. The feel of the film is a good combination of fast action and a brooding menace.

The main creative force behind all of this is Lois Weber, who also starred as the woman in distress. There are hardly any women film directors nowadays - which seems pretty outrageously sexist – Lois Weber was one of the very first though, so can be considered an important pioneer. Although, her gender aside, this remains a good film for its time.


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