At the close of an industrious life, Abel Hale, an old Quaker farmer, and his good wife, Phoebe, find themselves under obligation to a crafty lawyer, who holds a matured note against them. ... See full summary »
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Cast

Cast overview:
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Kirke Dundee
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Charity Hale
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Phoebe Hale - Charity's Mother
Charles Eldridge ...
Abel Hale - Charity's Father
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Lawyer Salmon
Florence Ashbrooke ...
Toby's Mother
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Kirke's Uncle (as Frank J. Currier)
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Storyline

At the close of an industrious life, Abel Hale, an old Quaker farmer, and his good wife, Phoebe, find themselves under obligation to a crafty lawyer, who holds a matured note against them. He threatens to drive them from their home if they do not give him their daughter, Charity, in marriage. Kirke Dundee, a hard-working farmer boy, who is in love with Charity, is considered an obstacle to Salmon's desire for Charity. The lawyer is the executor of the estate which belongs to Kirke's uncle, and when the uncle dies, he wills the property to Kirke. Salmon duplicated the will, making Toby, a simpleminded plow boy, the heir. Toby's mother is an irresponsible and cunning old hag, who enters into the scheme with the lawyer to rob Kirke of his inheritance. In an interview with her, Salmon takes the original will from his pocket, explains it to her and thoughtlessly leaves it on the table, at which the simple-minded Toby is apparently sleeping. He is not as foolish as he looks. He stealthily ... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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Genres:

Drama | Short

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Release Date:

7 August 1912 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Preserved in the Library of Congress collection. See more »

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User Reviews

 
You May Hiss the Villain, But Don't Spit on the Floor
3 June 2016 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

Hal Reid will throw Mary Maurice and Charles Eldridge out of the house and force them to walk by the sign that reads "To the Poorhouse" unless their daughter, Zena Keefe, marries him. Fortunately, stalwart farmer George Cooper and an idiot are present to foil his dastardly design!

When we think of melodrama, we think of girls tied to railroad tracks or log saws. It's a dead form, preserved in burlesque versions like Dudley Dooright cartoons. In the 19th century, however, it was a popular genre favored by the poorer audiences, who saw themselves in the characters, just as wealthier audiences saw themselves in the works of Oscar Wilde. Because it was favored by poorer audiences, it was held in a disfavor that has persisted to the day. However, the form encouraged spectacular sequences, like girls tied to railroad tracks, and villains who openly gloried in their villainy, instead of the oppressive moralizing and disfavor of God and the impossible dictum that the poor should save their non-existent money, instead of wasting it on whatever cheap pleasures they could afford.

This silent film, which can be seen on the Eye Institute site on Youtube is a fine and short version on the melodrama done straight. It's a good introduction to the form.


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