Parish Priest (1921)

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While it was performed in just about every hamlet across America, the old play by Daniel L. Hart seemed an unlikely choice for a silent film. The slight story was drawn out with the use of flashbacks to replace dialogue and to draw it out to feature length. Newly ordained priest John Whalen (William Desmond) is at his mother's bedside to hear her last wish: She wants Dr. Ned Welsh (Carl Miller) to marry his lifelong sweetheart, Agnes Cassidy (Margaret Livingston). It turns out that this is easier said than done, and Father Whalen has to use all his powers of persuasion -- and a bit of manipulation -- in order to get the couple to set a wedding date. Agnes, believing that Ned's affections have drifted, is ready to head for the big city; it is up to Father Whalen to convince her otherwise. Along the way, the priest also untangles a few other situations and brings happiness to several other couples.