The Girl in the Checkered Coat (1917) -- Tragic Loss
Mary ( Dorothy Phillips ) and Fannie Graham ( Dorothy Phillips ) are forced to live with their criminal father when their kindly mother dies. Mary flees, but Fannie remains with her father and is reared as a thief, becoming known as "Flash" Fan. One day she and her accomplice, Jim ( David Kirby ), steal a purse and she uses the money to buy a checkered coat. She disposes of the purse, so when a detective detains her there is no evidence to hold her with. Mary, who is working as a shopkeeper, becomes ill and is taken to her tenement home where, coincidentally, Flash also lives. That evening, Flash steals a silk bag from the lady friend of Hector Maitland ( Lon Chaney ), a society waster. Flash is chased by a detective to her house, where she slips into Mary's room, finds her unconscious on the floor, and puts the checkered coat on her. The detective finds Mary, sees the distinctive coat, and arrests the girl. David Norman ( William Stowell ), an attorney for the poor, decides to defend Mary, and she is easily found innocent. Mary and David become close friends, and she tells him of a letter of introduction she has to Ann Maitland, a wealthy spinster. She tried to deliver the letter to Hector, but he had always refused to see her. David takes her directly to Miss Maitland ( Mattie Witting ) , and she is allowed to live with the woman. Hector is unnerved by his aunt's affection for Mary, for he fears he may lose the large inheritance he expects. Hector and Flash plant some jewels stolen from Miss Maitland in Mary's room in an attempt to discredit her, but David catches Flash and turns her over to the police. Time passes, and the checkered coat has been pawned from one owner to another. Flash, destitute and shivering cold, finds the coat in a trash can and places it over her frail shoulders. Mary and David, now married, pass by the poor woman and, not recognizing her, place a coin in her hand.
This intriguing 1917 drama was produced by the Universal Film Manufacturing Company. Starring the popular Dorothy Phillips, William Stowell and Lon Chaney, tragically it now remains a lost silent film.
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