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Frank J. Coleman
I think it's just a fantastic attempt by a smaller studio to bring Wilkie Collins' classic Victorian tale of murder, madness and romance, "The Woman in White", to the screen. The Thanhouser company operated out of New Rochelle from a studio they had built from an old skating rink. In 1913 a fire destroyed the studios but the company just kept plugging away, even releasing a film "When the Studio Burned" to coincide with the disaster. They seemed to specialise in adaptations of classic novels and unlike the other reviewer I think this is a superior effort and can definitely be compared to other studios' films of the period. The titles are especially decorative with an Art Noveauish background.
While art teacher Walter Hartridge is walking to his new job he sees a "woman in white" running through the trees. She has just escaped from a lunatic asylum but implores Walter not to give her away and he keeps his word by acting dumb when a search party enquires after her. Walter and Laura, his new pupil, fall in love but unfortunately she has already been promised to Sir Percival Glyde - who is the "boo, hiss" villain. He is eager to get Laura's grumpy uncle to sign a clause that will enable either Laura or himself to inherit the estate in case of the other's death - and Sir Percival is determined not to die first!!! He also has Walter watched and interferes with the couple's letters so they both think the other is not serious about their love.
After the Glyde's honeymoon another bad egg arrives on the scene - he is Dr. Cuneo who conducts experiments on cute animals and is deeply in cahoots with Glyde's evil schemes. He sees a resemblance between Ann "the mad girl" and Laura and he hatches a plan....... I think the confusion comes about when Laura's older sister Marion, who has played a pretty subordinate role to the plot so far, but now, half way through becomes vital and propels the plot forward. Marion is drugged and taken away - Laura is told she is on a visit to London, then Ann is drugged and bought to the house, Laura is then drugged and taken away!!! Very confusing, especially as the lovely La Badie plays both Ann and Laura and Gertrude Dallas as Marion has a similar look!!!
1917 was the last year of production for Thanhouser. Earlier in the year an all round actor had died aged 62 but in October, when their brightest and most popular player Florence La Badie died in an automobile accident aged 27, the heart went out of the studio and by the end of the year Thanhouser was idle with no-one there except "the book-keeper and Mr. Thanhouser"!!
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