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The Ring and the Book (1914)

Violante, wife of Pietro, a wealthy Italian of low rank, discovers that, by the terms of her husband's will, relatives may claim the estate unless she bears a child. She passes off a ... See full summary »

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(poem)
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Cast

Cast overview:
Jack Drumier ...
Pietro
Mrs. A.C. Marston ...
Violante
Hector V. Sarno ...
Guido
Laura La Varnie ...
Guido's Mother (as Mrs. LaVarnie)
Marie Newton ...
Pompilia
...
A Priest
Edward Cecil ...
Caponsacchi
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Storyline

Violante, wife of Pietro, a wealthy Italian of low rank, discovers that, by the terms of her husband's will, relatives may claim the estate unless she bears a child. She passes off a foundling as her daughter, and the girl Pompilia is beloved by her foster father. She is still a child when Violante, seeking to advance her own social standing, schemes to marry her to Count Guido, an adventurer, who, after the secret marriage, claims his bride and her dowry. Violante, seeing the entire estate in danger of passing out of her hands, discloses the secret of Pompilia's birth, and shows that she has no claim on the property. Guido, enraged, bides his time in wreaking vengeance on his dowerless bride. Her distress under his cruelty arousing the pity of Caponsacchi, a canon, Guido forces Pompilia to write a letter to the prelate, asking his aid. He replies that he is a priest and she a wedded wife, but Guido destroys this letter and substitutes a declaration of passionate love from Caponsacchi... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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Genres:

Short | Drama

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Release Date:

22 September 1914 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
The Artist and the Film
2 February 2012 | by (New York City) – See all my reviews

D.W. Griffith had certainly left by the time this movie was made: the story-telling technique had reverted to the illustrated text method, the acting was overwrought and stagy and the crowd scenes looked posed. Biograph would collapse within another three years. In addition, the story of Browning's admittedly melodramatic poem is reduced to pure melodrama -- which may explain the overwrought acting without excusing it.

None of these issues were unique to Biograph in 1914, and I may be a little tough on this example, but given what they had been, this film demands excoriation. There is little to differentiate the techniques in this film from Griffith's version of PIPPA PASSES five years earlier. Take a look at this on the Eastman House website and see if you agree.

Alan Hale is credited prominently, but there's little to distinguish him on the screen.


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