Volume II: Filmography



March 10, 1911 (Friday)

Length: 1,000 feet

Character: Drama


ADVERTISEMENT, The Moving Picture World, March 4, 1911:

"The Spirit Hand had a grasp that was guaranteed to get the money for the sharper behind it. Certainly it was the shrewdest get-rich-quick device that bunco steerers ever employed, and you'll think it a pity that said steerers didn't put their brains to better use. The evolver of such a scheme as theirs, working hard on lawful and legitimate lines, would be a Morgan or Rockefeller in the natural order of things. But we are not advertising in the get-rich-quick business. If the sharpers hadn't met their nemesis in the form of a mere pretty girl we shouldn't have made the mighty entertaining story public."


SYNOPSIS, The Moving Picture World, March 11, 1911:

"Mrs. Gray, a wealthy widow, mourns continually for the husband who had been separated from her by death. Her grief was so intense that she easily fell a victim to the wiles of a pair of sharpers. One of the criminals, a woman, secured employment as the widow's maid. Her confederate posed as a spiritualistic medium. Sue, the maid, stole a photo of Mr. Gray, his signet ring and a love letter that he had written his wife. Then the two laid the plans to separate the grief-stricken woman from her money. The medium 'made up' to look like Gray, and aided by his woman accomplice, appeared to the woman in her home. Then the maid induced her to visit a 'famous medium,' as she put it, who can interpret for her the message from the spirit world.

"Mrs. Gray called on the charlatan, and saw the hand of her dead husband pen a message. She thought it was his hand because it wore his signet ring and wrote in his handwriting - a clever forgery process. The spirit ordered her to turn over her fortune to be disposed of by a mandate from the other world, and she meekly obeyed. She brought to the medium all her cash, and saw it whisked away by the hand she thought to be that of her husband. Fortunately for the poor woman, she had two daughters. One, the elder, took the practical way to cure her mother and save the fortune. She failed. The other adopted a method all her own, and succeeded. Then the swindlers, who thought that the widow's fortune was safely in their hands, had their hopes dashed at the last moment, and were marched off to jail in the bargain."


REVIEW, The Billboard, March 11, 1911:

"From the title of this film one is lead to expect a rather clever photo picture, it is sad to say these hopes are not realized. Of course the scenario has a number of bright spots in it and presents some opportunities that are realized, but nevertheless there is a crudity of trick work and farcicality in the exposé of the spiritualistic fakir that cannot elicit enthusiastic comment. However, there are many spots in it that are bound to meet with the approval of the audience. The plot which gives the leading thread to the story is of a very commonplace nature and removes the atmosphere of the unusual and extraordinary that one expects from the title. The individual acting is very clever and the photography is like all that Thanhouser gets out, exceedingly good. This film, however, is no comparison to The Mummy that they are also getting out the same week."


REVIEW, The Morning Telegraph, March 12, 1911:

"Congratulations! A novel theme, dramatically put on, entertainingly told. The business of the spirit hand in the clock is praiseworthy in the extreme. It might have been better, however, if when the mother of the little girl learns of the hoax, the child had then been shown concealed in the clock, instead of just prior to the climax. A small point, though, which not in any way mar the effectiveness of the whole. More such offerings would do much to enlighten a few of the unsophisticated who prove easy victims to the 'faker.'"


REVIEW, The Moving Picture World, March 25, 1911:

"A film depicting an original method of sharpers to get rich quick. They would have accomplished their purpose effectively, but a handsome girl interfered with their schemes and their plans were frustrated. The Spirit Hand possesses a grip which is calculated to be continuous.... The play is interesting since it is something out of the ordinary, and the way the schemers were foiled is worked out to good advantage."


REVIEW, The New York Dramatic Mirror, March 15, 1911:

"A finely drawn story is herein told, exposing the procedures of a fake spirit medium, and is furthermore presented with a dignity and a naturalness that make the production thoroughly plausible. After the death of her husband a window cherishes a number of his old letters and several tokens, including a ring. The maid is told to put them away, but before she does so she removes the ring and several letters, and takes them to her friend, the medium. He makes up as the dead husband and is smuggled into the house by the maid, where he appears before the widow. This so works upon her mind that, at the suggestion of the maid, she seeks the medium, who by the means of a switchboard, operated by the maid, causes a spirit letter to appear from her husband, directing her, if she desires his spirit to rest in peace, to bring her fortune to that room. She does so (though fortunes are hard to gather together in a bag), much against her daughter's will. Her small daughter hides in the clock and when the money is received by the spirit hand inside, operated by the switchboard, she takes it. The elder daughter enters with an officer and the fraud is exposed. The scene where the little girl receives the money comes out of sequence, as she gets it before the spirit hand."

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