Volume II: Filmography



advertising Herald for The Net (The_Net)



Alternate working title: THE EVIL WOMAN

April 1, 1916 (Saturday)

Length: 5 reels

Character: Drama; Mutual Masterpicture, DeLuxe Edition No. 88

Director: George Foster Platt

Scenario: Lloyd F. Lonergan

Cameraman: Lawrence Williams

Cast: Bert Delaney (the young fisherman), Marion Swayne (his sweetheart), Inda Palmer (his mother), Ethel Jewett (mysterious girl), Arthur Bauer (her former employer), Morgan Jones (detective), William Burt, James Dunne (double for Miss Jewett in an ocean scene)

Location: Initial scenes for the first reel were taken at the oceanside at Mayport, Florida on January 18 and 19, 1916.

Notes: 1. This film marked the first Thanhouser screen appearance of Marion Swayne, who came to the studio from a career which included work on the stage for various companies, and on the screen as a leading lady for Gaumont. 2. This film was originally advertised with a release date stated as the "week of March 27, 1916." 3. Production of this film commenced in Jacksonville, Florida after Marion Swayne arrived from New York on Monday, January 17th. 4. Lord Aberdeen, who was interested in the film industry, visited the production of this picture in Jacksonville, Florida on February 9, 1916.


ARTICLE, Sunday Times-Union, January 23, 1916:

"Miss Marion Swayne arrived in Jacksonville Monday morning on the Clyde Line from New York to join the local Thanhouser forces. Miss Swayne is to star in The Siren from the Sea, under the direction of George Foster Platt. This picture is to be in five reels and will be released as a Mutual Masterpicture. Playing opposite Miss Swayne in the juvenile role is Mr. Bert Delaney. Others in the cast are Ethyl Jewett, William Burt, Morgan Jones, Inda Palmer. Mr. Platt's company spent Tuesday and Wednesday in Mayport taking scenes from the first reel."


ARTICLE, The Sunday Times-Union, January 30, 1916:

"Director Platt has spent a very busy week on his new story, The Evil Woman, starring Marion Swayne and Bert Delaney, with such other Thanhouser favorites as Morgan Jones, William Burt, Inda Palmer, and Ethel Jewett and Arthur Bauer. In this story, Mr. Platt has to sink an automobile in quicksand and he has found it to be no small task. The villainess (Ethel Jewett) is supposed to be chased to the beach, while her car gets in the quicksand and gradually sinks from view. Not only is a good car to be sacrificed for the scene, but great care is being taken in the preparations to see that Miss Jewett will make her escape safely."


ARTICLE, The Florida Metropolis, February 13, 1916:

"George Foster Platt, who is directing his company of Thanhouser players in the production of The Evil Woman, visited the beach yesterday, where he made several scenes of 'Miss Jax,' the new aeroplane which has just been completed in this city and was being given a try-out."


ARTICLE, The Florida Metropolis, March 3, 1916:

"George Foster Platt secured one of the most artistic effects yet to be taken in Jacksonville, when last week he routed his company out at 4 a.m. and rushed to Pablo Beach to get a sunrise scene for this forthcoming production, The Evil Woman. The rising sun cast a pathway of light over the rolling surf, and in this pathway Bert Delaney, as the hero, rescued Jim Dunne (who was doubling for Miss Jewett) from the ocean. The effect secured Mr. Platt claims to be one of the most beautiful scenes he has ever taken."


SYNOPSIS, Reel Life, March 25, 1916:

"There is an ancient superstition, held by the old grannies and the old men of the fisher folk, that whatever living thing is saved from the sea brings with it a curse and bad luck to the person who saves it. And so the bent old women and the gnarled old men all wagged their heads and croned wisely at each other when the young fisherman saved a mysterious girl from the sea. She was lashed to a floating spar, and he carried her unconscious to his cabin where his mother could tend to her and bring her back to life. And it is the story of what happened to the young fisherman and the maiden from the sea that makes up the plot for a most unusual and interesting photodrama, entitled The Net, a forthcoming Mutual Masterpicture, DeLuxe Edition, from the Thanhouser studios.

"It is seldom that a picture of such real photographic beauty, such wonder of setting and such tensity and yet simplicity of plot development is produced. The settings of the Florida beaches, and the warm sunshine of tropical mornings and afternoons afford a marvelous background for the picture. The fisher people with their nets and boats and their poor little cabins are picturesque and quaint, and the mystery girl from the sea furnishes a strong contrast to their simple daughters. Marion Swayne, the beautiful little actress, who has made friends wherever her pictures have gone, is presented in her first Mutual feature in The Net. Miss Swayne plays the role of the sweetheart of the young fisherman, while Bert Delaney appears as the luckless youth who saved the drowning girl from the sea. Ethel Jewett is the rescued maiden, Inda Palmer is the mother of the fisherman, Morgan Jones plays the role of a detective and Arthur Bauer that of a business man from the city. The story of the young fisherman and his sweetheart, and the part that the mysterious girl from the waves plays in it, is as follows:

"In the home of the stalwart young son and his mother, the girl rescued from the sea grows strong again after her fearful exposure. Her attractiveness, so different from that of the fisher maidens, has a telling effect on the young man. He asks her, at length, to become his bride, and she accepts. But a few days before the wedding the affianced bride disappears, sailing away with a strange man from the city, who has suddenly appeared. Thinking that his sweetheart had deserted him for another, the fisherman is heartbroken for a time, but gradually the keen edge of his sorrow wears away, and he succumbs to the attractions of another girl, one who had recently come to the village with her father and who lived together and alone at the end of the town. In reality, the runaway girl had been a thief. In trying to escape with a large amount of money which she had taken from the store in which she was employed, she had sailed on a boat which was wrecked. She was the only surviving passenger. The stranger, for whom she left her stalwart fisherman lover, was a detective, who had hit upon her trail. She bribed him with the money which she had saved, and he did not turn her over to the authorities.

"The detective, learning that the young fisherman would someday inherit a vast fortune, insisted that the girl return and persuade the youth to marry her. Between them they would secure possession of his money. The girl returns to the village and tells her former lover that it was her brother with whom she had left - that they had hurried away to the deathbed of her dying father. While she talks, the fisherman's real sweetheart and her father surprise the detective in the doorway. At first he stammers in embarrassment. Then he looks searchingly into the face of the older man, and claps a handcuff on his wrists. The father, it seems, is a fugitive from justice. Seeing a chance to accomplish his ends, the detective promises the daughter that if she will give up all claim to the fisher youth and allow him to marry his earlier love, her father will beset free. She sorrowfully agrees, and the youth, much against his wishes, consents to the sacrifice.

"But the wedding is again interfered with. As the bride, ready to start down the stairs, looks over the rail she sees her former employer, the man from whom she had stolen a fortune, talking earnestly with the fisherman. Thinking that her secret has been divulged, she flees down a back stair, jumps into an automobile, and starts off, heading straight for the quicksands. The unhappy girl who had given up her own happiness for the sake of her father, tries to warn her of her danger, but, thinking it is a plot to stop her escape, she rushes ahead, and is swallowed in the treacherous sands. A letter from headquarters verifies the honesty of the unjustly accused father, and the girl and the fisherman wed and are happy ever after."


REVIEW, Exhibitors Herald, April 8, 1916:

"As a whole: up to standard; story: romantic; star: pretty; photography: good; settings: very good; support: well chosen; length: five reels; box office possibilities: very good...." (The balance of the review is virtually identical to that in The Morning Telegraph, April 2, 1916, quoted below.)


REVIEW, The Morning Telegraph, April 2, 1916:

"Laura Jean Libbey and Bertha M. Clay in the heyday of their popularity and prowess as purveyors of throbbing stories for the great middle class could not have surpassed The Net, in which Marion Swayne, a charming young screen actress, is starred with the able support of Bert Delaney and Ethel Jewett. It is a series of thrilling incidents embracing hairbreadth escapes from death in the quicksands and in the sea. Mysterious criminals, evading the law, flit through the film and the detective turns crook when tempted by a beautiful maiden with stolen funds in her possession. An impressionable young fisherman with a penchant for strange and mysterious young women twice fails in love and in the end marries the girl of his choice after the adventuress was first held his love, and whom he rescued from the ocean's jealous grasp, has gone down in an automobile in the treacherous quicksands. But it is all right, because he also rescues the other girl from these same sands. In order to save her father, an accused man, she renounces his love in favor of the mysterious lady from the sea, who is also a fugitive from justice. But when the latter's ex-employer, whom she has robbed, shows up, the guilty creature flees in his own auto and loses it and herself as well as in the sands. Thus is the self-sacrificing heroine (Miss Swayne) able to reclaim the fisherman, which she does with proper unction.

"Miss Swayne, as mentioned, is good to look upon and enacts her role with due consideration of its subtlety. Mr Delaney is not at all bad - even when he is struggling in the symbolical net wherein he has become entangled through the weakness he has for a pretty face. In fact, he is quite good. Miss Jewett is also to be congratulated upon her work, and Inda Palmer, Arthur Bauer, and Morgan Jones leave little to be desired in the rendition of their respective roles. As remarked in the beginning, it is a picture to appeal to those who care for the actual artistry of the screen and merely wish to be entertained and thrilled. In that respect it may be said to fulfill its mission satisfactorily."


REVIEW, The Moving Picture World, April 15, 1916:

"A moderately interesting five-part romance of the seacoast written by Lloyd Lonergan. Ethel Jewett, a beautiful and talented young actress plays the feminate lead with pretty Marion Swayne playing second. Burt Delaney plays the role of the young fisherman who at different times rescues both girls from death, the one from the sea and the other from the quicksands on the shore. Others of the cast are Inda Palmer, Arthur Bauer, and Morgan Jones. There are pretty touches to this production which will be found pleasing to most audiences, but some of the situations of the play are arrived at too easily to prove convincing."


REVIEW, Variety, April 7, 1916: This review is reprinted in the narrative section of the present work.


REVIEW, Wid's Film and Film Folk, April 6, 1916:

"This is a melodramatic offering with a half dozen twists which only bring to light again the fact that if old man 'Coincidence' ever broke his long arm, some scenario writers would have an awful time. We have five characters who figure in the action in correlative positions, and every once in a while there is a painfully 'convenient' event which throws them together. In addition to these five, we have the hero's mother, who has what Abe Potash calls 'woman's tuition,' because she is persistently telling what is going to happen.

"The story has to do with a girl thief washed ashore and loved by the fisher boy. She is discovered by a secret service man who, in some way, a little later is addressed by a chief of police as 'Sergeant.' Maybe he only borrowed the secret service badge and was really a police sergeant. Anyway, for part of the filthy lucre the fair 'willuness' [sic; villainess] had stolen, this defective [sic] agreed to help her spend it instead of turning her over to the authorities.

"Then comes another set of characters, a fugitive from justice and his daughter. The thief saved from the sea having departed, Friend Hero proceeds to fall in love with the fugitive's daughter, after saving her from the quicksands. The crooked detective and his newfound friend then discover that the fugitive is in their neighborhood and also that a million dollars awaits the location of Friend Hero, this million dollar estate thing being printed conveniently in a newspaper which, it seems, never reached Friend Hero's village.

"The fugitive's daughter is also loved by a wealthy visitor, who conveniently wanders into the scenes in order that he may later be found to be the man from whom the girl thief had stolen the money. The detective forces the fugitive's daughter to give up the hero by threatening to jail her father. The girl thief returns and claims that she always loved Friend Hero, hoping to marry him before he found he was a millionaire. At the eleventh hour, without any explanations as to how, the lawyer of the estate arrived and presented Friend Hero with the papers for a million. The wedding with the girl thief was about to proceed when she discovers her employer as one of the guests. She flees, the bum detective departing at the same time. The girl-thief refuses to listen to the warning of the fugitive's daughter, who had just learned that her fugitive father had been found innocent some time ago, and the girl thief, Hupmobile and all, landed in the treacherous quicksands.

"A lot happens in this rather messy story, but none of it convinces because it is all so darned 'convenient.' None of the players makes any real impression, and, as a whole, it registers as just another ordinary 'meller.' There is nothing distinctive about any part of it, and in many places it is painfully slow. The cameraman had a habit of opening and closing his aperture on almost every scene, with no rhyme nor reason for his use of this effect. We found him closing down his aperture only to open it immediately on the same location, with the inference that there had been a passage of time. This is surely bad. Taken as a whole, this may interest an audience of fifty-percent intelligence, but it will not be accepted as worthwhile by any high-class audience. Most of the scenes have been made on the beach in Florida, and there is nothing very artistic about any of the locations or lightings. The cast included Bert Delaney, Inda Palmer, Ethel Jewett, Arthur Bauer and Morgan Jones."

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