Mainspring (1916)

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Lawrence Ashmore (Ben Wilson) has fallen on hard times but he bounces back quickly when he becomes a reporter and is assigned a big story. A villain known as "The Rattler of Wall Street" is causing trouble for Jesse Craven (W.J. Higby), who happens to have a pretty young daughter, Edith (Francelia Billington). When Ashmore goes to interview Craven, who is sick in bed, he asserts that he will be ruined unless his son Larry returns at once from a trip abroad. He offers Ashmore -- coincidentally a dead-ringer for his son -- ten thousand dollars to impersonate the young man. He does, and when the real Larry comes home and is kidnapped, Ashmore confuses the bad guys by showing up. Ashmore is taken on a boat, which is wrecked in a storm, but he wins the battle for a life preserver. The villains are vanquished and Ashmore gets the girl. This was a pretty typical dramatic film for its era.