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A Beast at Bay (1912)

A young, and fickle girl ( Mary Pickford ) dumps her admiring boyfriend ( Edwin August ) because she views him as a coward. Meanwhile a ruthless convict ( Alfred Paget ) has escaped and ... See full summary »

Director:

D.W. Griffith

Writer:

George Hennessy
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Cast

Credited cast:
Mary Pickford ... The Young Woman
Edwin August ... The Young Woman's Ideal
Alfred Paget ... The Convict
Mae Marsh ... The Young Woman's Friend
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Elmer Booth ... (unconfirmed)
Christy Cabanne Christy Cabanne ... Station Master / In Sports Car (as W. Christy Cabanne)
William A. Carroll William A. Carroll ... A Guard
Francis J. Grandon Francis J. Grandon ... (unconfirmed)
Robert Harron ... A Farmer
J. Jiquel Lanoe J. Jiquel Lanoe ... At Station
Henry Lehrman ... A Guard
Charles Hill Mailes ... A Guard
Marguerite Marsh ... (as Marguerite Loveridge)
Lottie Pickford ... (unconfirmed)
W.C. Robinson W.C. Robinson ... A Guard
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Storyline

A young, and fickle girl ( Mary Pickford ) dumps her admiring boyfriend ( Edwin August ) because she views him as a coward. Meanwhile a ruthless convict ( Alfred Paget ) has escaped and takes the girl as his hostage. After a harrowing automobile and train chase, the ex-boyfriend rescues the girl and he immediately becomes her hero, which she seals with a kiss. Written by Pamela Short

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Short | Drama

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 May 1912 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Une bête aux abois See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Biograph Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Preserved paper print at Library of Congress. See more »

Connections

Featured in Hollywood: Trick of the Light (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Thrilling car train chase and race
20 August 2008 | by adt125See all my reviews

The plot is nothing special and the outcome expected. Everything needs to be tightly contained to fit the reels in these very early films so we cant expect the same characteristics of a feature film.

What is interesting about this film is that Mary Pickford mentions it in her writings and interviews and was well pleased with herself because Griffith gave her some praise for her dare-devil driving. In other words he said 'good girl' which Mary said made her feel quite good. (Obviously Griffith was short on compliments).

This was one of the first and is claimed to be the first 'real' car chase and train race. Mary said she got up to 54 miles per hour in the chase and went around the corner quite fast (Griffith wasn't happy until she did it fast - almost too fast) her driving coach was hidden on the floor of the car out of site in this scene. Mary said that her mother Charlotte actually stayed at home prayed for her while she was doing this chase scene. So this was something special in the history of film making. There is also excitement in the car behind Mary also in the chase - they went over a small raise in the dirt road fast and the back seat passengers (open top) were thrown up into the air about a foot. A little faster and you feel they would have been thrown out.

This shows that Griffith was pushing for something than the mundane and, achieved it.

Early in the film you should note that Mary is very comfortable driving the car, a real natural and you get the feeling she had lots of practice. She loved owing and driving cars.

The race with the train is brilliant and you get a real sense of speed and tension and close competition.

This little piece deserves a high rating simply for the car and train race.


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