Beautiful Lie (1917)

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The Beautiful Lie was inspired by Reveries of a Station House, a narrative poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox. Fresh off the farm, Louise Joyce (Frances Nelson) manages to land a secretarial job in the New York office of architect Mortimer Grierson (Harry S. Northrup). A shameless libertine, Grierson is in the habit of promising to marry the girls that he seduces and ultimately abandons. When he tries this ploy with Louise, she takes him at his word, forcing him to go through with a phony wedding ceremony. Once he has had his way with Louise, Grierson discards her like so much used-up Kleenex. Seething with revenge, she vows to make all men pay for Grierson's treachery, and before long the girl has become the most notorious heartbreaker in Manhattan. But when she sets her sights on handsome artist Paul Vivian (Edward Earle), she falls genuinely in love with him, despite the fact that Vivian is the protégé of the selfsame architect who "ruined" her in reel two. The plot begins hurtling towards a happy ending when the dying Grierson confesses to Louise that he'd lied about the "illegality" of their wedding, and that their marriage was genuine. Now that the "fallen woman" burden has been lifted from her shoulders, Louise forgets all about revenge and marries the virtuous Paul Vivian.