A wealthy old man is murdered after deciding to write his nephew out of his will. Fearing that he will be accused of the murder his nephew takes flight but, with the help of a young woman ... See full summary »

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(story "My Arcadiann Wife"), (scenario)
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William Lloyd ...
Gloria Hope ...
Margaret Hammersley
...
Norcross
Wharton Jones ...
Tracy
Mark Fenton ...
Hammersley (as Marc Fenton)
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Ackley
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Aunt Kate
Grace McLean ...
Jeanette
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A wealthy old man is murdered after deciding to write his nephew out of his will. Fearing that he will be accused of the murder his nephew takes flight but, with the help of a young woman whose life he saves, he has to try and track down the real murderer. Written by JoeytheBrit

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Mystery

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25 May 1918 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Whodunnit? It's obvious!
8 May 2009 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

This film has already been synopsised for IMDb by somebody named Joey the Brit, who probably saw the same (British) print that I've seen. Our Joey's synopsis is accurate but very cursory, so I'll add a few more details ... including the solution to the very obvious mystery.

SPOILERS AHEAD.

Dick Arlington (Franklyn Farnum) is the reckless scapegrace nephew of wealthy Henry Arlington (William Lloyd, in a good but brief performance). The uncle declares his intention to disinherit his nephew ... although it's not clear who will get the boodle instead. Within just a few minutes -- both in screen time and in real time -- of making this decision, Henry Arlington is shot dead ... by person unknown, but the circumstances make Dick look guilty. Although Dick asserts his innocence, Henry's lawyer Tracy (Wharton Jones) advises him to go on the lam.

Did you get that? A lawyer advises a murder suspect to flee rather than co-operate with police inquiries. There is only one possible reason why a lawyer would give such advice, and you can probably guess it as easily as I did. Anyroad, Dick does indeed run like hell, which adds to the perception that he's guilty.

Dick heads out west to the sagebrush, where men are men and women are damsels in distress. In true Horatio Alger fashion, he rescues a young woman from her runaway horse, but he injures himself in the attempt. The fair maiden is Margaret Hammersley (Gloria Hope, quite pretty). She gratefully takes him to her home to recover. Naturally, they fall in love.

Dick, who has no money and no prospects, proposes to Margaret. So far, this movie has been pretty much by the numbers, so I was pleasantly surprised that Dick told Margaret he's wanted for murder BEFORE he marries her. She accepts his proposal anyway.

Emboldened by Margaret's faith in him, Dick goes back east with his new wife, intending to clear his name and find his uncle's murderer. I was not remotely surprised by the last-reel denouement, in which it's learnt that lawyer Tracy is the killer. There was only one remotely plausible reason for why Tracy would have advised Dick to flee; the murderer knew that this would make Dick look even more guilty, and the authorities would be kept busy hunting for Dick instead of solving the crime.

Despite the extreme obviousness of the film's ending, '$5,000 Reward' is well photographed and intelligently edited, and the actors give good performances. Even Wharton Jones, whose character is lumbered with the most implausible motivation, does well here. I'll rate this movie 6 out of 10.


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