Bootle's Baby (1914)

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Filmed in 1914, the British comedy-drama Bootles' Baby was released in the U.S. by Paramount the following year. Adapted from a story by Joan Strange Winter, the story focuses on one Captain Gilchrist, who marries in haste and repents in leisure. Eventually he deserts his wife, forcing her to look for a job. Alas, no one will hire a woman who shows up at the employment office with a baby in her arms. With nowhere else to turn, Mrs. Gilchrist deposits the baby in the Army barracks where her husband is commanding officer. Finding the baby, Gilchrist plants the kid in the quarters of his hated rival, an officer named Bootles (Ben Webster). Rising to the occasion, Bootles adopts the baby, then casts around for a suitable bride so that the child will have a mother. Bootles selection is, of course, the kid's real mother. Some sources list future director Lewis Gilbert as the "child actor" who played Bootles' baby, but since Gilbert was born in 1920, this hardly seems likely.