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The Man Who Forgot (1917)

The story opens in an opium den in China showing a white girl and two men suffering from the effects of the soul destroying drug. The younger man suddenly rises from his hard bench. Turning... See full summary »



(scenario), (novel)




Cast overview:
The Man, later known as John Smith
Edith Mallon
Gerda Holmes ...
The Woman, aka Mary Leslie
Alex Shannon ...
Al Simpson (as Alex K. Shannon)
Ralph Delmore ...
Senator Mallon
John Reinhardt ...
Charles Waller (as John Reinhard)
Congressman Mannersley (as Frederick C. Truesdell)


The story opens in an opium den in China showing a white girl and two men suffering from the effects of the soul destroying drug. The younger man suddenly rises from his hard bench. Turning to his companions he cries out, "I am through with this life: I am going back to America and decency. Come, go with me." But the other two pay no attention to his words and he leaves alone. After a hard struggle drowning a fierce desire for the drug by an over-indulgence in drink, he arrives in Cincinnati. He stumbles into a mission house and there comes to him the resolve to give up forever all drink. Unable to recall his name or anything about the past, he registers as John Smith. Realizing the havoc that "demon rum" makes of hearts and homes, John Smith devotes his life to the prohibition cause. He soon becomes a force in political affairs. Among those most interested in seeing the liquor interests win out is Senator Mallon of Ohio, who has been elected by the Whiskey Trust. Mallon's daughter, ... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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Release Date:

15 January 1917 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

John Smiths förflutna  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

It is a story with a purpose
9 November 2014 | by See all my reviews

The scenario of "The Man Who Forgot," a five-reel Paragon photoplay, is from the story of the same name by James Hay. Jr. It is a story with a purpose; after the first two reels it takes up the subject of temperance and advocates it with all the conviction of William Jennings Bryan. The issue is made a national one and the end of the drama sees it a part of the Constitution of the United States. The author, however, has not forgotten that the mission of a screen play is to entertain, not to proselyte, and the plot has to do with the fall and rise of a young man who awakens from a long debauch to find his memory gone and he himself without the power to recall his own name. His resolve to fight the evil which has nearly ruined him puts him at the head of a national temperance movement, and he carries the struggle into the halls of Congress, and wins. The love interest is not neglected. The reformer falls in love with the daughter of a United States Senator who is the political leader of the liquor interests, and every means at the command of influence and money are used to discredit the young chap and turn his sweetheart against him. All of these efforts end in failure and the senator concludes to accept the reformer as his son-in-law, once the mystery about his birth is cleared up and the temperance cause is triumphant. The production is excellent. Prom the Chinese opium den in the opening scene to the incidents that were photographed at various well known localities in Washington, great care has been taken with the filming of the picture. The scenes outside the Capitol and in the Senate are the real thing, and the large crowds of temperance advocates are handled skillfully by the director, Emile Chautard. The cast is also of superior quality. – The Moving Picture World, January 20, 1917

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