Modern Mephisto (1914)

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Released in the U.S. by Green Photo Company, A Modern Mephisto was originally produced in Europe under the title The Bible! A young and cynical artist is commissioned to paint the portrait of a wealthy nobleman. While staying in the Noble's mansion, the artist falls in love with his host's daughter. She sorrowfully tells him that her father would never consent to their marriage, whereupon the artist threatens to kill herself unless she "gives in" to him. The couple secretly marries, a ceremony witnessed by the girl's nurse, who makes the husband promise on the Bible that he will remain faithful to the wife. Alas, he soon forgets his promise in favor of the usual wine, women and song. Whenever he runs out of money, he manages to cajole his bride to beg, borrow or steal money from her father. Things keep going along in this fashion until the husband finally runs out of options and excuses and ends up in prison. Upon his release, he discovers that his wife is now supporting herself as a circus equestrienne, while their child (did we forget to mention him?) is being raised by the old nurse. Demanding his rights as a parent, the no-good husband steals the child and escapes on a motorcycle. In the ensuing chase, the cycle plunges into the river; the child is saved, but the husband is presumed drowned. Or is he? Only in the very last scene of this Byzantine 75-minute melodrama does the no-good husband finally get his comeuppance -- struck down, apparently, by the Wrath of God.