Volume 2: Filmography

 

LITTLE EM'LY AND DAVID COPPERFIELD

 

October 24, 1911 (Tuesday)

Length: 950 feet

Character: Drama

Director: George O. Nichols

Scenario: From Charles Dickens' novel of the same name

Cast: Florence LaBadie (Little Em'ly), Ed Genung (David Copperfield as a man), William Russell (Ham)

Note: This is the second reel of a three-part series, and was preceded by The Early Life of David Copperfield (October 17, 1911) and followed by The Loves of David Copperfield (October 31, 1911)

 

SYNOPSIS (Part II), The Moving Picture World, October 21, 1911:

"This picture shows David already grown to manhood at an inn in Yarmouth. Here he meets Steerforth, a chum of his boyhood days, at the Salem House. David invites Steerforth to come with him to visit his friends at Yarmouth. They arrive just when the announcement is made of the engagement of little Em'ly to Ham. David is enthusiastic and congratulates the seemingly happy couple. He then introduces Steerforth, who is attracted by little Em'ly's simple beauty. At the first opportunity he makes love to her. Little Em'ly sees in the suave Steerforth her ideal and eventually he is able to induce the misguided girl to elope with him to Italy. Before leaving she sends a note to Ham, which wrings the heart of her faithful lover.

"In Italy, the caddish Steerforth tires of Em'ly and deserts her. Little Em'ly then finds herself adrift. Later, after a long illness, broken in spirit and mind, she arrives in London, where Mr. Peggotty and David find her and provide for her future. In the meantime Steerforth sails for England. The boat in which he sails is wrecked off the coast of Yarmouth. Ham sights the wreck and in attempted rescue is drowned. Steerforth's body is washed ashore. Whimsical fate brings the bodies of Steerforth and Ham side by side. The last scene closes with David, hat in hand and bowed head, standing between the bodies of two of his friends."

 

REVIEW (Part II), The Morning Telegraph, October 29, 1911:

"David, grown to manhood, leaves home for a visit to Yarmouth and at a roadside inn meets Steerforth, whom he brings with him. On their arrival they hear of the engagement between Emily and Ham. During the next few days Steerforth and Emily are seen together much of the time. Then Emily defends Martha, who is being stoned by the villagers. After seeing Steerforth and Emily together some more they elope and Ham is given her farewell note, which he shows to David, and which they take to the uncle and aunt.

"In Italy Emily is deserted by Steerforth, when she tries to cast herself into the sea, but is rescued by an Italian woman. In England she goes to Martha, who befriends her. The old folks come to her and she writes her husband that she is going to Australia and begs him to forget that she had ever wed. Ham later sees a ship in distress, and after picturing the crowds on the beach Ham attempts to swim out and saves one lone person, who proves to be Steerforth, Ham being drowned in his attempt. The water scenes are well taken save that no storm is pictured. The rest of the film is much like the first in that it is really a series of motion illustrations to the original, with interjections in type to explain the action. It would hardly carry as a strong motion picture story were one unfamiliar with the Dickens' novel, in other words. In point of costume and settings, as well as of environs chosen, it is admirable."

 

REVIEW (Part II), The Moving Picture World, November 11, 1911:

"Second in a series of Dickens' great novel. This, of course, is a seaside picture. It has the good qualities of the first film. It is a sadder story and was harder to act convincingly. It is, however, very successful and effective. Some of its scenes are highly commendable. Little Em'ly is charming, and the other characters are very well portrayed."

 

REVIEW (Part II), The New York Dramatic Mirror, November 1, 1911:

"The excellent characterization shown in the first reel of this subject is continued in this second instalment of the life of David Copperfield. The same indication to tell the story too much by titles is noted; otherwise it is a production of high order. David, now grown to manhood, visits Little Em'ly with his friend Steerforth. Little Em'ly is to marry Ham. Steerforth wins her away and flees to Italy with her, where he abandons her. Later, she arrives in London, where she meets David, who cares for her. On his way to England, Steerforth is drowned in a shipwreck, in which Ham attempts a rescue. Both men are drowned, and the tragedy is witnessed by David."

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