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The Brahma Diamond (1909)

An unscrupulous tourist plots to steal the famous diamond, "The Light of the World," tricking a young woman into helping him. She is caught and imprisoned, while he prepares to sell the diamond and make his getaway.


D.W. Griffith


D.W. Griffith


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Credited cast:
Harry Solter Harry Solter ... A Tourist
George Gebhardt George Gebhardt ... A Guard
Florence Lawrence ... The Guard's Sweetheart
David Miles ... The Guard's Sweetheart's Father
Charles Inslee ... An Unscrupulous Hindu
Arthur V. Johnson ... Executioner
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
John R. Cumpson ... Tourist
Edward Dillon
Robert Harron ... Native Servant
Anita Hendrie Anita Hendrie ... Tourist
Marion Leonard ... Dancer (unconfirmed)
Owen Moore
Barry O'Moore ... Tourist (as Herbert Yost)
Mack Sennett ... A Guard / A Servant / Hotel Manager
Dorothy West ... Tourist


It was at the City of Cawnpore on a feast day that the faithful assembled in the temple to worship at the shrine of Brahma, the first person of the Hindu triune God, comprising Brahma, Vishnu and Siva, sometimes called the Brahmin Trinity. In this Hindu pantheon there gathered natives of the Ganges Valley of all castes, with the priests, their wives, and houris; also a generous sprinkling of Western tourists, they being drawn thither by their thirst for sight-seeing. Most kaleidoscopic was the scene as out of its midst towered the stately idol Brahma. In the forehead of the idol there was embedded a mammoth diamond of fabulous value. This was termed the "Light of the World." Among the tourists there is one who, a stranger in a strange land, finds himself in a depleted condition as regards finances. Extravagant and improvident, he is piling up a bill at the Cawnpore Hotel without funds to meet it. The sight of this diamond at once arouses his cupidity and he determines to secure it at ... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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Release Date:

4 February 1909 (USA) See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

The Cinematic Daniel Defoe
15 October 2004 | by Single-Black-MaleSee all my reviews

In all of these short films that the 34 year old D.W. Griffith made in 1909, he created a vocabulary for film-making like Daniel Defoe did for novel writing. I don't particularly like this offering in the same that I didn't like 'Robinson Crusoe', but I did feel that I could do it better in the same way that I felt that I could rewrite 'Crusoe' in an improved way. What this film needed was a trans-valuation of viewpoint so that it could be digested more easily for contemporary audiences. As it stands, it is unpalatable, not because of the period or the subject matter, but just the point of view. Opinions will always shift from generation to generation, but what may have been acceptable to Griffith's generation is not so now.

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