Of the 28 films listed as being directed by John H. Collins, only 3 did not star his wife, Viola Dana (isn't IMDb fantastic?), and of the 15 scenarios credited to his writing skills, only one (the unconfirmed one) did not star Dana. What's more, between 1915 and 1919, only three of Viola Dana's films were not directed by Collins, who died of the flu at the age of 29 in 1918. If the well-constructed, highly entertaining THE INNOCENCE OF RUTH is any indication, the artistic partnership of Dana & Collins deserves a higher rank in the movie books. Viola Dana is completely convincing as a spunky, pretty teen who becomes the ward of a wealthy, unmarried, and relatively young man. Familiar territory, like DADDY LONG LEGS, only told in somewhat darker terms. Not only Ruth's innocence is threatened, but her benefactor's fortune and good name. As a film, RUTH's strongest assets are great pace, intriguing subplots, and a cast where every character has a shady, questionable side. It being a moderately budgeted 1916 production, there is hardly anything fancy here, no tremendous sets, no more than modest, serviceable settings and costuming. When all of society turns up for Ruth's special evening of dancing (not much of it, and not much good at that), there is no establishing shot of a large society audience, just a brief scene of Ruth with a small group of matrons heading out to get their seats. An important player of the 1920s, Viola Dana would find further successes (and further tragedy), starring in Metro's ROUGED LIPS (23); MERTON OF THE MOVIES (24); and the wonderful (and available) OPEN ALL NIGHT (24), sans sausage curls and now playing the wronged wife, and no longer so quick to defend her innocence. Capra's THAT CERTAIN THING (28) is being restored, and there is a marvelous turn with her sister Shirley Mason, an actress of similar career path with not a dot less of historical significance, in the all-star scatter-fest SHOW OF SHOWS (29), and you can still see the smiling, spunky, girlish RUTH of 1916 shining through.