Volume 2: Filmography

 

THE VOICE OF CONSCIENCE

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September 3, 1912 (Tuesday)

Length: 1 reel

Character: Drama

Cast: Edmond J. Hayes (the dying father), Florence LaBadie (the orphan), Jean Darnell

 

ADVERTISEMENT, The Moving Picture World, August 31, 1912:

"Another plot with a twist. Two girls fall in love with the same man. Out motoring one day they are thrown from the machine and carried to the hospital. Here one of the girls pours poison in the medicine of the other, and later the dreaded white screen is placed about the rival's bed. Here the 'twist' enters, and the story swings into a very pleasant finish."

 

SYNOPSIS, The Moving Picture World, August 31, 1912:

"An orphan girl was given a home by one of her father's friends who, with his mother, carefully looked after her. The girl's benefactor was much her senior, but she soon fell desperately in love with him, although she hid it from those around her. Jealousy came into her life, when a young woman came to visit her guardian's mother. Soon it was apparent to the orphan girl that the man she admired was deeply in love with the elder girl, and she saw that his affection for his ward was purely paternal. While the two girls and the young man were motoring one day, they met with an accident and the young women were badly injured. A little country hospital was nearby, and there the victims were taken, being placed on adjoining cots. The young man did all he could for their comfort, but his actions showed that his heart was wrapped up in the elder girl. This his ward noted, and as she lay on her cot she brooded and prayed for a chance to have revenge. The man's sweetheart was suffering principally from shock, and a heart stimulant was given her at constant intervals. This draught was a very powerful drug, and the warden knew that an overdose would be fatal. Full of hatred, she watched her chance and when she thought she was unobserved, poured half the contents of the bottle into the glass containing the mixture prepared for the patient.

"By good fortune the doctor, who was outside on the porch, saw her. He decided that she should be punished, but had a firm belief that conscience would cause her more suffering than could be administered by the law. The guilty girl peeked stealthily when the doctor approached her enemy's cot and gave her a dose of medicine. She shuddered a few minutes later when the screen emblem of a patient's approaching death was put around her neighbor's cot. Later when the screen was removed and she saw the empty bed beside her she bitterly regretted the evil deed that jealousy had led her to do. The girl was not dead, however, the doctor only pretended to give her the medicine, and removed her for safety's sake to another part of the hospital. The guilty girl regained her strength very slowly. Weak and wan, she was seated in the hospital grounds on a beautiful afternoon when visitors were announced. They were the man she loved and the girl she thought she had killed. Joyfully she greeted them, but was so weak from the shock that her callers were ordered to leave. The doctor came to administer to her, the girl made a full confession, and devoutly thanked heaven that in some mysterious way the crime she planned had not succeeded. The doctor explained that he knew all, and had known it from the time she tampered with the medicine, but had kept the secret. Humbly she thanked him, and told him she had learned her lesson, and as reparation would consecrate the rest of her life to doing good."

 

REVIEW, The Morning Telegraph, September 8, 1912:

"Originality is displayed in this offering both as to story and the manner in which it is done. A dying father leaves his daughter in the care of an old friend. The latter takes her to his mother, where she is received as a daughter. A year later guests visit the family, including a girl of about the same age as the adopted one. Her jealousy is aroused when the friend of her father pays more attention to the other than to herself. They go autoing, the car hits a rock, overturns, and the girls are hurt. Carried to a hospital, they are attended, and the attending physician prescribes a powerful heart stimulant for the second girl. Knowing this, the first attempts to give her an overdose, but is discovered by the doctor, who, however, makes her think she has carried out her scheme. A screen is placed about the bed of the other girl, who is then removed as if she had actually died. Time passes; both girls are convalescent. The first has a fit of remorse for her act. The doctor brings about a meeting between her and the other girl, the man who caused the trouble also being present. The adopted girl is forgiven, and the man and the second girl appear as sweethearts. The hospital scenes are very well staged, and the automobile accident is quite well done, though it is anticipated when the scene opens. The play is finely acted by all concerned and is very ably directed."

 

REVIEW, The Moving Picture World, September 14, 1912:

"A study in morbid psychology. In it, a physician, whose duty it was to heal and cure, plays the part of a deceiver in order to work on a weak woman's conscience with a view to a future repentance brought about by remorse. The woman was a patient in this hospital; she was already somewhat morbid in her jealousy and she had a mind greatly in need of careful scientific treatment. She attempted to murder the woman in the next cot, her rival in love. The doctor saved the other patient, but let the guilty one think that she had accomplished her insane desire. Not every spectator will like the doctor's method. The story has an unconvincing climax. The acting, sets, photography, and all mechanical work are good."

 

REVIEW, The New York Dramatic Mirror, September 11, 1912:

"The story of the film is a little bit weak, as is also the work of some of the actors. The county hospital looks more like a country boarding house and the whisking away of the sick girl seems a little bit incompatible with her condition, but perhaps these things could happen just as they are pictured. The orphan, in the home of her friend, falls in love with the young man of the house, and becomes jealous when a girl visits him and absorbs his attention. Both girls are hurt in an automobile accident and taken to the hospital, where the orphan 'fixes' the medicine in an attempt to kill her rival. The doctor sees the act and lets the orphan think that she has committed the murder, while the girl's conscience troubles her so much that her condition becomes pitiable. But when the young man and the girl visit her, now entirely cured, and appear before her the doctor fixes everything by quoting some Scriptural words about joy in heaven over one sinner doing penance, a thing which is perhaps more sentimental than convincing."

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