Monday, July 18, 2016
The Voice of Conscience (USA,1912)
The Thanhouser studios had a very nice output of drama films, but the studio unfortunately lasted only a bit over one decade. It was found prior to 1910, which puts this studio among one of the first cinema studios founded in the United States.
A young orphaned girl is romantically interested in her guardian, who was a friend of her father. As the girl’s father was dying, he left his daughter to be taken care of by his friend, who took the orphaned girl to the home of his own mother. Time passed, the girl became part of the family and ended up having feelings for her guardian, although he had no idea about it.
However, guests came from the city, another girl showed up, the orphaned girl’s guardian got a intense interest in the visiting girl and the orphan girl was jealous.
After a car accident where both girls were injured and shared the same hospital room, the orphan found herself alone with the other girl and a bottle of medicine. After acting impulsively, she tried to kill the other girl with the medicine. The doctor witnessed everything and allowed the orphan to think she had killed the girl, so she could learn a lesson.
Time passed and the orphaned grieved immensely, but after a while she realized that the visiting girl was still alive. Not without having regretted deeply the attempted murder of her rival.
Although this film has some stagy acting and overacting at its climax, it remains a beautiful, delicate film.
The biggest irony of this film is that actress Florence La Badie (1888-1917), one of main stars of the studio, who played the visiting girl, ended up dying in a car accident in real life with 29 years old at the peak of her fame and her death was openly mourned by her fans. Perhaps, it was this precocious death which made La Badie being nearly forgotten by subsequent generations even though she was a highly popular star in her own era.