Damon and Pythias (1914)

Genres - Drama, Historical Film  |  
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Otis Turner may have been billed as the "dean of American directors," but he was no D.W.Griffith. Even so, Turner did a good job with the epic excesses of the multireel Universal costumer Damon and Pythias. Based chiefly on a novel by Edward Bullwer-Lytton, the story is the familiar one about two lifelong friends, Damon (William Worthington) and Pythias (Herbert Rawlinson), both of whom are arrested by the tyrannical Dionysius. Condemned to death, Pythias asks only that he be allowed to head to his home country and say goodbye to his loved ones. Dionysius agrees, but only on condition that Damon remain behind as hostage, to be executed in Pythias' place should the latter not return. Circumstances of an incredible nature prevent Pythias from returning at the appointed time, and tension mounts as the loyal Damon mounts the scaffold in anticipation of death. Just in the nick of time, however, Pythias returns, whereupon Dionysius, profoundly moved by the friends' devotion to one another, releases them both. Cleo Madison, one of Universal's busiest leading ladies, is afforded several emotional scenes as Damon's overwrought sweetheart Hermione. Produced on a scale commensurate to the biggest of the Italian epics of the period (or so the producers claimed), Damon and Pythias was an enormous financial success, remaining in active circulation for several years.

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Keywords

ancient, battle [war], chariot, death, death-penalty, extramarital-affair, friendship, homecoming, hostage, inseparable, life, pardon, racer, tyrant