This autumn, Dr. Earl Headley is eagerly demonstrating what seems to be a miraculous cure for tuberculosis. Yet not far from where he is working, the disease seems ready to claim yet ... See full summary »
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Henry B. Walthall,
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This autumn, Dr. Earl Headley is eagerly demonstrating what seems to be a miraculous cure for tuberculosis. Yet not far from where he is working, the disease seems ready to claim yet another life, a young woman named Winifred, who is already seriously ill. Winifred's mother and younger sister Trixie are devastated by the news. When Trixie hears the family doctor say of Winifred that "when the last leaf falls, she will have passed away", she interprets the doctor's words literally. Thinking over what she has heard, she determines to do everything possible to save her sister. Written by
This film begins with Dr. Headley showing off his success at treating tuberculosis (in this film called by the old term 'consumption')--a serious epidemic in the early 20th century throughout the world. Then rather abruptly, it switches to a dramatization of a tuberculosis victim. However, instead of realistically portraying its effects, the actress goes from seemingly normal to grandiose spasms in a matter of seconds. The mother shows great concern, while the youngest child (Trixie) just seems kind of lost--wandering about the frame. When the doctor comes out after examining the young lady, he waxes poetical and talks about falling leaves--more like he's delivering a speech than a real doctor.
Fortunately for the sick girl, Trixie snaps out of her useless wandering about and decides to take action (even though she looks to be only about 6 years-old). She sneaks out of the house at night and locates Dr. Headley who then agrees to treat her older sister. Then, with the aid of Headley's serum, the girl is cured and lives happily ever after.
Overall, while the film has obvious dramatic flaws, it is very good for a 1912 film. Had it been made just a few years later, it would have been seen as very old fashioned. BUT, in 1912 ALL films were old fashioned and dated. So, relatively speaking, it's a very good film. Seen today, it is more an interesting curio.
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