A Heart in Pawn (1919)

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Toyama (Sessue Hayakawa) wants to go to college in America but his alcoholic father won't supply the funds. He gets the money to go, however, from Sada (Tsuru Aoki, Hayakawa's real-life wife), whom he has married in secret. But Sada has a secret of her own -- she told Toyama that she got the money from a relative, but the truth is that she has signed up to do a four-year stint as a Geisha girl. So Toyama goes to school and then becomes the assistant of Dr. Stone, who is searching for a cure for alcoholism. Stone's daughter Emily (Vola Vale) is half-Japanese, and she and Toyama grow very fond of one another. Meanwhile, Sada is attacked by a guest at the tea house where she works, and she kills him. She is sentenced to death, but she has a baby while waiting to be executed and is given life imprisonment instead. Toyama hears only that his wife is dead and it sends him off on a drinking binge, but Dr. Stone finds him and brings him back to normal. When the doctor dies, he makes it clear to Toyama and Emily that he would like to see them marry. So they do, and go back to Japan, where Emily adopts Sada's child, unaware of its parentage. Then Sada escapes from prison and goes to Toyama. Toyama feels he has dishonored his name and the only way out for him is to commit hara-kiri. But Sada, who is being closely pursued by the prison guards, drowns herself, which saves Toyama and his marriage to Emily.