In the pre-Civil War South, a sadistic plantation-owner brutalizes his slaves to the point of them heaving no other choice but to rebel. Always obedient, peaceful and honest old slave Tom plays a central role in this tragedy.
Géza von Radványi
Based on the novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe: Eliza, a slave who has a young child, pleads with Tom, another slave, to escape with her. Tom does not leave, but Eliza flees with her child. ... See full summary »
After the bandit Jim Stokes robs the stage he is wounded fleeing. Recuperating at a ranch, he falls in love with and marries the daughter. Now wishing to go straight he tries to return the ... See full summary »
William S. Hart,
J. Frank Burke,
Young Leon Kanter dreams of being a great violinist. His parents scrape up the money for a violin and for lessons, and Leon rewards them by becoming a great player. But as an adult, Leon ... See full summary »
A flirtatious young woman takes a job in a busy office, where her presence is terribly disruptive. None of the men in the office can concentrate on their jobs while her charms are on ... See full summary »
When a mysterious figure appears to cause a series of disruptions at the Frisbie Home in New York, word goes out to Scotland Yard that the Fuzz-Faced Phantom is at work. Soon, Charley ... See full summary »
Harold L. Muller,
Charles R. Bowers
Charles R. Bowers,
Poor glazier Sam Bisbee has invented break-proof glass. He intends to show it off to a convention of automobile men. Due to a mixup his car is switched with another and his demonstration ... See full summary »
Gregory La Cava
Charles 'Buddy' Rogers
This is the first time a back American actor played the part of Uncle Tom on screen (Lucas, an enormously important figure in African American theatre and film, also played the part on stage) but it is not the first time a black actor had played the lead in a film.
Black actors, including vaudevillians John and Mattie Edwards and Joseph Outen, had already starred in Sigmund Lubin's Coloured Comedies (see my review of Rastus Among the Zulus). While these films may not be terribly politically correct, they gave important opportunities to black performers and were very popular, especially in the South, presumably because of the sheer pleasure for African American cinema-goers to see black stars on the screen.
Lucas was also one of an all-black troupe who appeared in the sadly unfinished 1913 Biograph film Lime Kiln Field Day (pretty much a feature) starring black Ziegfield Follies star Bert Williams who would go on to star in further Biograph shorts in 1916.
One aspect to note in this version of the Stowe novel is the way the words of the foreword - "This is the story of an exotic race, whose ancestors, born beneath a tropic sun, were brought to the New World by heartless traders, and sold into slavery" - are unpleasantly twisted in Griffith's prefatory titles to Birth of a Nation. Griffith also re-created the "cabin" for his racist film.
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