Stranded (1917)

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Broadway luminary DeWolfe Hopper was felicitously cast as a broken-down ham actor in the 5-reel comedy-drama Stranded. The title accurately describes the dilemma faced by H. Ulysses Watts (Hopper) and his fellow performers when travelling-show manager Stoner (Carl Stockdale) skips town with the box-office receipts (a munificent $7.40!) Most of the actors manage to secure jobs with other companies, but the troupe's pretty trapeze artist (Bessie Love) is unable to leave town because of a broken arm. Magnanimously, Watts offers to remain in town with her until she heals. Strapped for cash, Watts takes on the assignment of directing a local amateur production of Romeo and Juliet, passing himself off as a famous Shakespearean tragedian and claiming that the trapeze girl is his daughter. Within a few days, the girl has fallen in love with the son of the town's leading citizens, who are willing to accept her into their family because of Watts' trumped-up reputation. Things go along smoothly until the crooked Stoner returns, threatening to expose Watts and the girl as phonies unless he is given a substantial sum of money. A fight ensues, and the old actor is shot and fatally wounded. But Watts, a trouper to the last, manages to cling on to life long enough to march his "daughter" down the aisle at her lavish wedding.