On Dangerous Ground (1917) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • Bradford Stewart, a young American surgeon studying in Germany, is dining in Cologne with a German friend, Ritter Bloem, a philosopher and a patriotic German. The latter is called away by German officers, and on his return announces to Stewart that war has been declared. After Bloem's departure, Trapadoux, chief of the French Secret Service maintained in Germany, who has been listening to their conversation, accosts Stewart, claiming to be one of the German police agents, inspects his passport, and learns to which hotel he will go in Aachen, which is his next destination. Frau Schanne, the proprietress of the Holmer Hof, secretly maintains French sympathies, but her servant, Hans, is a German spy. In Stewart's absence from his room, Trapadoux brings Frau Schanne a package, the contents of which he instructs her to place in Stewart's baggage to avert police suspicion during their later moves. Upon his return to his room Stewart finds in his luggage a lady's slippers, silk hose and dainty lingerie. The door of his room is opened and Little Comrade hurries in, embraces him fondly and calling him husband. Outside the door Hans listens, perplexed and a little suspicious, but had he not seen the lady's garments in Stewart's belongings? Perhaps, after all, she is his wife. After making sure of Hans' retirement, Little Comrade explains to Stewart that she is a French spy fleeing from Germany with secrets stolen from the German officers with whom she has been wont to flirt in Alsace-Lorraine; that even now they are on the watch for her and that if she is brought back, death will be the penalty. Stewart consents to help her, and watches while she forges an addition to his passport, adding to his own name and description, the description of herself as his wife traveling with him. Together they pass the gauntlet of police inspection and board the train for Brussels. At the frontier the train is held up and all passengers inspected. The police inspector stationed there holds Stewart and his "wife" for the coming of a German' officer from Metz to identify Little Comrade. One of the French spies on the frontier summons Trapadoux, who comes in the guise of the officer from Metz, and after inspecting Little Comrade, states that she is not the woman spy they feared. In the morning they arrive at the Belgium camp, where they are welcomed, but a few hours later the Belgians muster in battle against the German invaders. Little Comrade and Stewart are wounded, and while Stewart goes for a stretcher for her, she is captured by a genuine officer from Metz, who takes her to German headquarters and denounces her as a spy. Bloem, who is in command is unable to persuade her to confess. When Stewart discovers Little Comrade gone, weak from loss of blood, he becomes unconscious for several days. Upon regaining consciousness he learns that Little Comrade has been captured, so he concentrates his energies on delivering to General Joffre the papers she confided to his keeping. In gratitude, General Joffre bestows on Stewart the ribbon of the Legion of Honor, but overwhelmed by his loss and weak from this last effort, Stewart is borne away delirious. At the German headquarters, Bloem finding Little Comrade obdurate, is about to pass sentence upon her when she begs him to send her last words of love to Stewart. Finding that Stewart is her lover, Bloem, whose life was once saved by Stewart, refuses to condemn her, claiming that there is not sufficient evidence, and sends her back to "her American husband." There follows a joyous reunion in the hospital between Stewart and Little Comrade.


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