One Woman (1918)

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After the success of Birth of a Nation, author Thomas Dixon -- the man who wrote The Clansman, on which Birth of a Nation was based -- formed his own production company. This picture was produced by that company and is based on Dixon's semi-autobiographical book by the same name. Instead of waxing racist on the Reconstruction, here Dixon makes an attack on his pet peeve -- socialism. The Reverend Frank Gordon (Lawson Butt) preaches his socialist views from the pulpit until the church members force his resignation. He determines to create a "temple of man" and leaves his wife (Adda Gleason) and children (Ben Alexander and Mary Irving) for the wealthy Kate Ransom (Clara Williams). He forges a common-law union with Kate while espousing his socialist views until the government orders conscription. Gordon's colleagues want to vote against it, but Gordon, a patriot underneath it all, refuses. He is voted out of his own temple as a result and on top of that, he discovers that Kate is involved with another man. He kills Kate's lover and is sentenced to die. His wife, however, has remained faithful to him all this time and convinces the governor (Thurston Hall) to pardon him. Gordon returns to his family with his tail between his legs. In the early part of the century, this story was presented in play form, and ironically the cast included future Birth of a Nation director D.W. Griffith (as Reverend Gordon) and his wife, Linda Arvidson. For reasons lost to time, Griffith was fired before the show reached Broadway.