Great Problem (1916)

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Rex Ingram had been a jack-of-all-trades at various film studios for three years when, at the tender age of 23, he made his directorial debut with Universal's The Great Problem. The story, written by Ingram, concentrates on a mother named Mary Carson and her daughter Peggy, both played by Violet Mersereau. As Mary lays dying, her ex-crook husband Bill (Dan Hanlon, unable to pay for her medicine, resorts to stealing and is promptly arrested. Bill's pal Skinny (William J. Dyer promises to look after Mary and her daughter Peggy while Bill is in stir. During the next ten years, both Mary and Skinny die, leaving the teenaged Peggy to fend for herself. Arrested as a pickpocket, Peggy is hauled before District Attorney George Devereaux (Lionel Adams), who decides to adopt the girl and orchestrate her reformation. Within a few years, the once-hoydenish girl has become a proper young debutante. On the eve of Peggy's wedding to a handsome socialite, her father Bill is released from prison. Seeking revenge against D.A. Devereaux, the man who sent him up, Bill prepares to shoot the man at Peggy's wedding ceremony, little realizing that the bride-to-be is his own daughter. But Bill's aim is bad and Peggy is shot down instead. Upon recovering, Peggy engineers a detente between her father and her guardian -- then, as expected, our heroine declares that she'd sooner marry Devereaux than anyone else in the world.