Beneath the Czar (1914)

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Alice Guy Blache, the film industry's first (and for many years foremost) woman director, was the guiding creative force behind the Solax four-reeler Beneath the Czar. Claire Whitney stars as Anna Pavlova, a Russian damsel whose Nihilistic father and sweetheart have been thrown into a Cossack prison. Deploying both her wits and her feminine wiles, Anna entices the jailer to show her how the locks in the Siberian prison are operated. She then overpowers the jailer and helps her father and lover escape. The film owed a great deal to the one-act play Expiation, which was adapted to the screen with Viola Dana two or three years later.