7 user 1 critic

The Lesser Evil (1912)

Not Rated | | Short, Drama | 29 April 1912 (USA)
A young woman's peaceful existence is shattered when she is abducted by the crew of a boat of smugglers, who then also turn against their captain.


D.W. Griffith


George Hennessy

On Disc

at Amazon


Add Image Add an image

Do you have any images for this title?

Learn more

More Like This 

The Massacre (1912)
Short | Action | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

The story of the massacre of an Indian village, and the ensuing retaliation.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Wilfred Lucas, Blanche Sweet, Charles West
Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A lonely young woman lives with her strict father who forbids her to wear make-up. One day at an ice cream social, she meets a young man you seems interested in her. However, unknown to her... See full summary »

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Blanche Sweet, Madge Kirby, Charles Hill Mailes
Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

In this latter day Cain and Abel story, a jealous brother strikes down his sibling just as a young burglar is about to enter the house. The jealous brother summons police, who then charge ... See full summary »

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Lionel Barrymore, Henry B. Walthall, Robert Harron
The Usurer (1910)
Drama | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

A wealthy, callous moneylender finds a terrifying way to learn about money's limitations.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: George Nichols, Grace Henderson, Mack Sennett
The Sunbeam (1912)
Drama | Short | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Set in a tenement boarding house, a lonely confirmed bachelor occupies a room across the hall from a dour spinster. Children run amok in the hallways playing pranks. Believing the bachelor ... See full summary »

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Ynez Seabury, Kate Bruce, Claire McDowell
Short | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Thieves decide to steal the money an old miser has hidden away. He refuses to open the safe for them, so they threaten to kill a girl who lives in his building.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Linda Arvidson, Lionel Barrymore, William J. Butler
Short | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A young wife and her musician husband live in poverty in a New York City tenement. The husband's job requires him to go away for for a number of days. On his return, he is robbed by the ... See full summary »

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Elmer Booth, Lillian Gish, Clara T. Bracy
Short | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

Two business partners pursue the same woman. She accepts the marriage proposal of the irresponsible partner, much to her later regret. He squanders money on gambling, as his interest in her... See full summary »

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Blanche Sweet, Henry B. Walthall, Walter Miller
Short | Drama | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

A king exacts vengeance upon his faithless mistress and her lover.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Arthur V. Johnson, Marion Leonard, Henry B. Walthall
Action | Short
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

On a warm and sunny summer's day, a mother and father take their young daughter Dollie on a riverside outing. A gypsy basket peddler happens along, and is angered when the mother refuses to... See full summary »

Directors: D.W. Griffith, G.W. Bitzer
Stars: Arthur V. Johnson, Linda Arvidson, Gladys Egan
Wilful Peggy (1910)
Romance | Short | Comedy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Peggy is a high-spirited young woman from a poor family. One day she catches the eye of a wealthy lord, who proposes marriage and wants to introduce her into his social circle. But ... See full summary »

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Mary Pickford, Clara T. Bracy, Henry B. Walthall
Short | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

A potentially violent patient in an insane asylum is calmed when he hears a nurse playing the piano. But shortly afterwards he breaks free, eludes his pursuers, and acquires a gun. He soon ... See full summary »

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Lionel Barrymore, Claire McDowell, Charles Hill Mailes


Credited cast:
Blanche Sweet ... The Young Woman
Edwin August ... The Young Woman's Sweetheart
Mae Marsh ... The Young Woman's Companion
Alfred Paget ... The Leader of the Smugglers
Charles Hill Mailes ... The Revenue Officer / Policeman
Charles West Charles West ... The Go-Between
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
William A. Carroll William A. Carroll ... In Smuggler Band
Charles Gorman Charles Gorman ... In Smuggler Band
Robert Harron ... In Smuggler Band
Harry Hyde Harry Hyde ... Policeman
J. Jiquel Lanoe J. Jiquel Lanoe ... In Smuggler Band
Owen Moore ... (unconfirmed)
Frank Opperman Frank Opperman ... In Smuggler Band
Herbert Prior ... (unconfirmed)
W.C. Robinson W.C. Robinson ... In Smuggler Band


As per appointment, the girl goes to meet her sweetheart outside an old shack. This spot is selected as being the most sequestered. Unknown to anyone, this shack is used by a gang of smugglers for the reception of contraband goods for shipment. This gang is just preparing to take away a cargo when the girl arrives. Not finding her sweetheart there, and hearing voices, she imagines he is inside the shack, and enters. The gang becomes panic-stricken at the entrance of an outsider. It is not long before they realize the importance of the situation, and as she has discovered their secret, they dare not leave her behind. Carrying her aboard their ship they sail away, just as the girl's sweetheart, who was late on account of the stopping of his watch, arrives at the place of meeting, and helplessly witnesses their departure. The young man rushing off, gets the Harbor Officers to attempt a rescue. In the meantime, the girl is in great peril on the ship, as the captain, who has locked her in ... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Short | Drama


Not Rated






Release Date:

29 April 1912 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El mal menor See more »

Filming Locations:

California, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Biograph Company See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Edited into Spisok korabley (2008) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

A Lesser Griffith
19 August 2007 | by wes-connorsSee all my reviews

A confusing early film, directed by D.W. Griffith. Blanche Sweet and Edwin August are deliriously happy. He's a fisherman, and she's his "fishermaiden". Ms. Sweet enjoys hanging around the seashore; where, one day, she stumbles upon nasty Alfred Paget and a gang of smugglers. The smugglers nab and gag Sweet; then, they take her on their ship. Looking for his missing girl, Mr. August witnesses the kidnapping from the shore, and runs fro help…

While the film delivers its promised thrills, the characters' actions and motivation are often difficult to understand. There are also some strange bits of business; for example, why isn't Sweet locked in the boat room, and for what purpose does she momentarily pick up a gun? So, "The Lesser Evil" is what?

*** The Lesser Evil (4/29/12) D.W. Griffith ~ Blanche Sweet, Edwin August, Alfred Paget

2 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 7 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

IMDb Freedive: Watch Movies and TV Series for Free

Watch Hollywood hits and TV favorites for free with IMDb Freedive. Start streaming on IMDb and Fire TV devices today!

Start watching

Recently Viewed