The Vicar of Wakefield

The Vicar of Wakefield
R: Theodore Marston. B: Oliver Goldsmith (story). D: Martin J. Faust, Frank H. Crane, Anna Rosemond, William Garwood, Marie Eline, Bertha Blanchard, Lucille Younge, William Russell. P: Thanhouser Film Corporation. USA 1910
Print: EYE (Desmet collection)
German titles

“The German title of this film was ‘Der Landprediger von Wakefield’. A print with this title is preserved by the Library of Congress. The Thanhouser emblem was used with abandon in this film and appears prominently on various interior walls (including a prison cell) and even on a tree in a picnic scene. This practice, common at the time with many film companies, was to minimize the possibility of unauthorized copies being made.
BACKGROUND OF THE SCENARIO: ‘The Vicar of Wakefield’, one of the most popular works of fiction in the English language, is from the pen of Oliver Goldsmith (…). This landmark work, published in 1764, rescued Goldsmith from impending arrest for debt. ‘The Vicar of Wakefield’ is difficult to categorize and is a complex story about the great priest (the Vicar), husband and father, Dr. Primrose, and the romantic escapades and near-marriages of his lovely children. The end is famous for its hilarious out-of-control double wedding and consequent ‘happily ever after’ sentiment.”

“The daughter of vicar Dr Charles Primrose is swept off her feet by a wealthy nobleman, who suggests they elope to get married. The squire however is deceiving the girl: he has arranged for one of his farmers to pose as a clergyman, so that the marriage is not legally binding. When the girl learns the truth she runs. The squire then has the vicar imprisoned for debt. In prison, the vicar learns that his daughter’s marriage actually is legitimate, because the squire’s farmers had enough of his antics and sent a real minister. The squire’s father insists that his son fulfills his obligations.”

“‘The Vicar of Wakefield’ – subtitled ‘A Tale, Supposed to be written by Himself’ – is a novel by Irish writer Oliver Goldsmith (1728–1774). It was written from 1761 to 1762 and published in 1766. It was one of the most popular and widely read 18th-century novels among Victorians. (…) In literary history books, ‘The Vicar of Wakefield’ is often described as a sentimental novel, which displays the belief in the innate goodness of human beings. But it can also be read as a satire on the sentimental novel and its values, as the vicar’s values are apparently not compatible with the real “sinful” world. It is only with Sir William Thornhill’s help that he can get out of his calamities. Moreover, an analogy can be drawn between Mr. Primrose’s suffering and the Book of Job. This is particularly relevant to the question of why evil exists.”

More early film adaptions of Goldsmith’s novel:
1912 – Dir: Frank Powell. P: Britannia Films. UK
1913 – Dir: John Douglas. P: Hepworth. UK
1913 – Dir: Frank Wilson. P: Hepworth. UK
1916 – Dir: Fred Paul. P: Ideal. UK
1917 – Dir: Ernest C. Warde. P: Thanhouser Film Corporation. USA