Last Act (1916)

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Some sources credit Thomas H. Ince as director of the 5-reel The Last Act, though it is possible that the film was the handiwork of one of Ince's staffers. Bessie Barriscale plays an impoverished actress who gets her big break when the leading lady of a popular musical sprains her ankle (there was a time when this plot device was new!) Before this happens, however, Barriscale is given a substantial loan by the kindhearted wife of a prominent attorney. After achieving stardom, the actress happens to meet the attorney himself, and the two fall in love. Coincidentally, Barriscale is currently starring in a play in which she portrays the mistress of a married man. The play ends unhappily, with Barriscale's character being tossed out of her lover's home in disgrace. Fortunately, real life is kinder, as our heroine realizes the error of her ways and gives up her married sweetheart.