An Accidental Alibi (1913)
- Summaries (2)
The introduction is startling and so pleasing that it comes in the combined nature of a surprise and a relief. As old as natural selection, it is decidedly unconventional from a theatrical point of view, the producers have gone to nature instead of the stage for a mode of presenting a young man and a young woman whose course of love is not to be a smooth one. There would be no play if father gave his consent. He not only refuses it but drives the lusty suitor from the house on the pretext that drinking habits make the alliance impossible. First result more drink. In a moment of bitter resistance, the rejected lover imbibes and threatens to get even with the man who stands between him and the realization of his fondest hopes. The story proceeds along familiar lines. The father is thrown from his horse and killed in a lonely spot and an accumulation of circumstances point to the discarded lover as his murderer. The young man has in truth been away for a day in search of some occupation which would enable him to get relief from disappointment and mental distress. He comes upon the dead body of the girl's father when returning home and runs away in a panic, realizing that suspicion may be fastened on him, but this act completes the chain of circumstantial evidence against him, and his case is a hopeless one under examination before a magistrate. The alibi is indicated, somewhat relieving the complexity of the situation for the audience, but there is a stretching forward of expectation to determine how such evidence can be utilized in court. The lover has been accidentally taken by the motion-picture camera without knowing it on the day that his supposed victim was killed. His sweetheart, induced to seek mental relief in a picture show, sees her lover and immediately communicates with his attorney. On the day of trial, when the court is convened with imposing solemnity, a projector is introduced, the room darkened, and a picture thrown on the wall that was taken the day the girl's father met with accidental death. These are all peculiar and admirable effects for photoplay purposes, and the conclusion is in perfect harmony with the staccato opening. Though the drama deals with chance and coincidence, it runs along plausibly to a delightful and original version of the happy ending, a variation much needed in these days of endless repetition. Aside from these bright features, the play is to be commended as a convincing example of well-directed ingenuity.
Joe Hardy, a young farmer of good standing, proposes to, and is accepted by Jessie Barnes, daughter of a neighboring farmer, When Joe brings the matter to the attention of Mr. Barnes, he receives a flat refusal. Joe, being a hot-tempered man, goes to the saloon, and in the presence of several witnesses, makes threats against Mr. Barnes' life. He later, however, decides to forget it all and goes to the city. During his absence, Mr. Barnes, while riding through the country, is thrown from his horse and killed. The body is found and when Joe returns home he is captured, tried and convicted. After Joe's trial Jessie is persuaded to visit a friend in New York, and while there she goes into a moving picture theater, where she sees her lover on the screen. She communicates with Joe's attorney, and by the moving picture it is proved that Joe was in New York at the time of Mr. Barnes' death.
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