Five Dollar Baby (1922)

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Writers of the day compared this sentimental drama to 1920's Humoresque, with father-love instead of mother-love as the focus. Ben Shapinsky (Ralph Lewis) is a pawnbroker who claims he'll take anything. That boast is put to the test when a tramp wants to pawn a baby left on a doorstep by its mother. Shapinsky takes the infant for five dollars and raises her as if she were his own. He keeps hoping that the tramp will default on the interest payments, but they keep coming in. Meanwhile the girl, Ruth (Viola Dana), grows up to be a charming and spirited young lady. Finally, after eighteen years, the tramp comes in to claim the girl, although he says he will give her up to Shapinsky for a large sum. Shapinsky finally tells Ruth of the dilemma, and she solves the situation herself. She also wins the young man of her choice, Larry Donovan (John Harron).

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Keywords

elopement, love, love-triangle, marriage, pawnbroker, police, schoolmate