High Hand (1915)

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This feature broaches a subject familiar to 1910s filmgoers: The ambitious worker whose aspirations bring him into conflict with corrupt politicians. Jim Warren (Carlyle Blackwell) has worked his way up from a laborer in a steel mill to superintendent. Even so, he still wants to see the workers get their due, and decides to run for political office. He wins a seat on the legislature over the corrupt Francis Lewis (Douglas Gerrard). On the surface, Lewis appears to be a graceful loser, introducing Warren to the Speaker of the House, Mr. Tillingast, and Tillingast's daughter, Edna (Neva Gerber), who is Lewis's fiancee. Tillingast, however, is running for governor and is carrying on some shady deals with Lewis. Edna finds out about their plans, and breaks up with Lewis in disgust. In spite of her father's protests, she prefers the honest Warren. Lewis orchestrates a campaign in which Warren is bribed, and then has him arrested for accepting the money. But Warren calmly leads the detectives to a bank vault where he has stored the bribe money, along with the names of all those who were involved in the scheme and enough incriminating evidence to convict them. As a result, Warren is nominated for the governorship and Edna agrees to be his bride.