Forgotten Law (1922)

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This drama was adapted from Caroline Abbott Stanley's novel, A Modern Madonna, and one of its opening title cards claimed that it was based on an actual law in an "Eastern state" which had recently been repealed. It's a weak story nevertheless, and Milton Sills does his best to overcome the material. Victor Jarnette (Jack Mulhall) is an unapologetic womanizer who continues his assignations even after he marries Margaret (Cleo Ridgely). When the couple has one particularly heated argument, he adds a codicil to his will stating that his brother Richard (Sills) shall get custody of his daughter, Muriel (Muriel Frances Dana) -- this is the law mentioned in the beginning of the film. Sure enough, one of Victor's castoff mistresses guns him down, and as he dies Victor leads Richard to believe that Margaret is the culprit. So Richard takes Muriel away from her anguished mother, even though Judge Kirtley, a friend of the family (Alec B. Francis), questions the wisdom of this decision. Finally the judge is forced to prove to Richard that his brother was a first class heel. Richard falls in love with Margaret, and they raise Muriel together after they wed.