Volume I: Narrative History


Chapter 8: 1915 The Seven-Day Poison

Thanhouser's November releases began on the first day of the month with the one-reel Falstaff comedy, Freddie, the Fake Fisherman. By now the alliterative titles were standard with Falstaff films, as the list of the month's other Falstaff pictures demonstrates: "Clarissa's" Charming Calf, Lulu's Lost Lotharios, The Film Favorite's Finish, Hannah's Hen-Pecked Husband, A Cunning Canal-Boat Cupid, The Postmaster of Pineapple Plains, The Villainous Vegetable Vender, Note and Foiling Father's Foes. With the exception of The Moving Picture World, trade journals declined to review the comedies.

An interesting situation developed with the Falstaff entry of November 25th, as related in a story in Reel Life: Note "Pennsy Piety: The Pennsylvania State Board of Censors is just naturally funny, naturally, not consciously. Their latest stroke of genius comes in the following elimination order with reference to a very harmless Falstaff comedy entitled The Villainous Vegetable Vender. 'Eliminate newspaper advertisement reading, 'Rents in their clothes and their rents unpaid - While millionaires loll in luxury, the poor in the slums have no bread and are forced to eat cake.' Very dangerous matter that."

The Thanhouser schedule of other films began on November 2nd with The Commuted Sentence, still another picture addressing the circumstantial evidence question. Then followed The Seventh Noon. Variety reviewed it in detail:

Ernest Glendinning is starred in this latest Mutual Masterpicture in five reels. The Seventh Noon is a filmization of the book of the same name by Frederick Orin Bartlett. As it stands the picture is rather long; a reel less would have been preferable and sufficient to tell the story.

Donaldson is a young lawyer who works for the love of it, taking poor people as his clients, which leaves him financially embarrassed. He decides to commit suicide. A chemist friend has invented a seven day poison which kills seven days after taking. Donaldson takes some of this. To make the best of things while alive he goes to a fashionable hotel and intends to put on a big front with the remaining money he has. While dining in a large restaurant he notices a couple, the man of which is very erratic. Follows them to the street and sees the man and girl start off madly in an automobile, with the former in no condition to run a machine. He jumps to the running board of the car and overpowering the driver gains control of the machine. Then learns from the girl that the other is her brother and that he is under the influence of opium. They go to the home of the pair. There the man disappears, with the girl sending word to Donaldson at the hotel of what has occurred. He gets the aid of his friend, a police inspector, and a search is made of the hop joints for the missing one. A robbery occurs in a nearby house to that occupied by the dope fiend and his sister. He is thought to have been the culprit. Donaldson finds the weak brother and takes him home, getting him to swear to cut out the use of the deadly drug. This he does and everything is serene at the home and Donaldson leaves.

He in the meantime has fallen in love with the girl but on account of the seven day drug his end is near. Leaving the home of his friends he meets the detectives who believe the former opium user is the crook. Donaldson dispels this idea, saying he did it. Immediately taken to jail. A short while later the real criminal is found. The time for the seven-day poison to do its work is near at hand. He goes to the home of the chemist who discovered the sure death only to learn that the poison was not in the least effective. Donaldson and girl in each other's arms.

Glendinning works hard through the five reels. The dashing young juvenile makes a fair picture study but could have been seen to better advantage in something less melodramatic. Winifred Kingston is the first woman. She capably handles what there is to the part which is somewhat light. George LeGuere does some capital work as the drug fiend. The director leads one to believe that LeGuere got over the drug habit in a precious few minutes, but that evidently was no fault of the player. The remainder of the cast was suitably selected. The Seventh Noon is only an ordinary feature with a story which in picture form is not at all times interesting.

Mr. Meeson's Will, a three-reel Than-O-Play issued on November 6th, featured Florence LaBadie in an adaptation of the book of the same name by H. Rider Haggard. True to most of Haggard's works, the plot had an unusual twist. The will in question was tattooed on the back of Florence LaBadie by the juice of a cuttlefish applied with a needle, as no writing materials were available, in a sequence set among shipwrecked unfortunates on a remote island.

The Mistake of Mammy Lou, issued in one reel on November 7th, was followed on the 9th by a two-reel picture, The Little Captain of the Scouts, with little Leland Benham in the title role. In Baby's Garden, released on the 14th, featured Helen Badgley, the Thanhouser Kidlet. As was the case over the years with nearly all Thanhouser films featuring infants and youngsters, the picture was favorably reviewed. In the Hands of the Enemy, issued in two reels on the 16th, featured Morris Foster and Inda Palmer.


Copyright © 1995 Q. David Bowers. All Rights Reserved.