Confederate soldier Frank Winslow is terrified of the war and eventually runs away from battle. But when he finds himself behind enemy lines with vital information, he must decide between ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview:
Frank Keenan ...
...
Frank Winslow
...
Mrs. Elizabeth Winslow
Patricia Palmer ...
Amy (as Margaret Gibson)
Nick Cogley ...
A Negro Servant
Charles K. French ...
A Confederate Commander
Minnie Devereaux ...
Mammy (as Minnie Provost)
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Storyline

Confederate soldier Frank Winslow is terrified of the war and eventually runs away from battle. But when he finds himself behind enemy lines with vital information, he must decide between his fear and his conscience. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

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Genres:

Drama | History | War

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Details

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Release Date:

14 November 1915 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Blood Will Tell  »

Box Office

Budget:

$18,000 (estimated)
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This Civil War era melodrama was filmed and released just 50 years after the end of the Civil War - when several Civil War veterans would have still been alive. See more »

Quotes

Narrator: The gay day - the Gray day - when War's finger beckoned and men obeyed, stepping across destiny's threshold toward the battle-reddened horizon where Death and Glory stood hand in hand.
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User Reviews

Charles Ray makes it worthwhile
21 September 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"The Coward" should be seen in order to disprove the oft-made point that film acting in the early 20th century was overdone. The young and fresh-faced Charles Ray, who steals this Civil War melodrama from then-veterans Frank Keenan (a dead ringer for Mark Twain) and Gertrude Clair, was one of the most naturally appealing young male actors of his time, and recognized as such by contemporary audiences and critics. Few of his films have survived, and luckily this rather well preserved relic contains generous helpings of his talent and magnetism. Sadly, his career petered out in the 1920s.

There is little of general interest, however, in this simple but overly drawn-out Civil War story of a young man (Ray) whose soldier father (Keenan) forces him at gunpoint to enlist in the Confederate Army for the sake of family honor, if nothing else. There follows a melodrama of desertion, heroism and redemption which could have been told in about 30 minutes if some of the close-ups had been kept to a realistic length, but this was 1915 and cinema audiences apparently needed 60 seconds or so to identify an emotional state from an on screen face.

Some of the indoor scenes bear the telltale sign of having been shot outdoors to take advantage of the natural light (in a parlor scene Keenan's cigar smoke rushes away from his face and the dining room table cloth flutters in the breeze).

Keenan's performance, mostly slow-motion gestures and smoldering glares, seems bizarre by today's standards, but it can't be his fault because the camera and editing are obviously cooperating.

As usual for the era, house slaves are played by white actors in blackface.


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