The Cross Roads
R: Frederick A. Thomson. D: Charles Eldridge, Mary Maurice, Zena Keefe, George Cooper, Hal Wilson, Florence Ashbrooke, Frank J. Currier. P: Vitagraph Company of America. USA 1912
Print: EYE (Desmet Collection)
“At the close of an industrious life, Abel Hale, an old Quaker farmer, and his good wife, Phoebe, find themselves under obligation to a crafty lawyer, who holds a matured note against them. He threatens to drive them from their home if they do not give him their daughter, Charity, in marriage. Kirke Dundee, a hard-working farmer boy, who is in love with Charity, is considered an obstacle to Salmon’s desire for Charity. The lawyer is the executor of the estate which belongs to Kirke’s uncle, and when the uncle dies, he wills the property to Kirke. Salmon duplicated the will, making Toby, a simpleminded plow boy, the heir. Toby’s mother is an irresponsible and cunning old hag, who enters into the scheme with the lawyer to rob Kirke of his inheritance. In an interview with her, Salmon takes the original will from his pocket, explains it to her and thoughtlessly leaves it on the table, at which the simple-minded Toby is apparently sleeping. He is not as foolish as he looks. (…)”
From the Submerged
R: Theodore Wharton. B: Theodore Wharton. D: E.H. Calvert, Ruth Stonehouse, William Walters. P: Essanay Film Manufacturing Company. USA 1912
“From the Submerged (1912) is a short film about the poor. It is moving, and striking for its social commentary.
Leading man E.H. Calvert is notable for both his virile appearance and his sensitive acting. Many years later, he would appear as District Attorney Markham in the Philo Vance films, based on the novels by S.S. Van Dine. Calvert doubled as a director in the silent era, making films of several very good short stories by Mary Roberts Rinehart, including ‘Affinities’ and a series based on some of her Tish tales: ‘The Cave on Thundercloud’, ‘Mind Over Motor’, ‘Tish’s Spy’.
There is what looks like a reproduction of Jean-François Millet‘s painting ‘The Angelus’ (1857), above the father’s bed. This very famous painting is a profound expression of the sacredness of work among the poor. It expresses both the liberal concern for the life and economic struggles of the poor, and devout Christianity, that were common in the Progressive Era when From the Submerged was made.
Other links to religion are found in From the Submerged. The heroine points to Heaven, while inspiring the hero and saving his life. And a minister appears in the finale. The film link religion and a concern for the problems of the poor.”
Michael E. Grost
Jean-François Millet: L’Angélus, c. 1857-1859
“Theodore Wharton (1875-1931) was an American film director, producer and writer. He directed 48 films in the 1910s and 1920s, including the 1915 The New Adventures of J. Rufus Wallingford, which featured Oliver Hardy. (…)
In 1890 Wharton started in both the business side of the theater as well as acting in Dallas, Texas. He worked for a number of stock companies, including that of Augustin Daly until 1899, and then became a stage manager. In 1907 he visited Edison Studios and worked there until 1909. Over the next 3 years he wrote and directed many screenplays for various studios including Essanay Studios.
During 1912 the US government commissioned him to produce The Late Indian Wars, the first sevel-reel motion picture in America. It was filmed on location in the great plains, with a script by General Charles King and a large cast including other generals and ‘Buffalo Bill’ Cody. The Whartons Studio opened in Ithaca, New York in 1914. Stars he directed included Francis X. Bushman, Henry B. Walthall and Beverly Bayne. In the 1920s Wharton moved to Santa Cruz, California, as promoted by mayor Fred Swanton.”
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