One Thousand Dollars (1918)

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One Thousand Dollars was one of a series of Vitagraph shorts and features based on the works of O. Henry. Edward Earle, who appeared in several of the series' entries, was starred as Eddie Gillian, the improvident nephew of wealthy Old Man Bryson (Templar Saxe). Margaret Hayden (Agnes Ayres, Bryson's ward, is in love with Eddie, but she refuses to tell him so until he stops chasing around with sexy musical comedy star Lotta Lauriere (Florence Deshon). Upon Bryson's death, Eddie learns that his "vast inheritance" consists of a mere $1000, while Margaret was bequeathed only $10 and a ring. In addition, Eddie must maintain a strict accounting of his expenses if he hopes to keep what little money he has. Upon finding out that she can no longer rely upon Eddie as a meal ticket, Lotta unceremoniously dumps him. With nothing to lose, Eddie gives the money to Margaret, leading her to believe that it was her uncle's wish that she should have it. At this point, Bryson's lawyer reveals a hitherto unmentioned codocil in the will: If Eddie should give away his money unselfishly and wisely, he will then come into Bryson's entire fortune! And no, this doesn't reveal the O. Henry "surprise" ending, since the film contained an additional climactic plot twist.