The Prodigal Wife (1918)

Genres - Drama  |  
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While Mary Boland is primarily known for portraying society matrons, occasionally she played against type to show the strength of her acting ability. Here she is Marion Farnham, the neglected wife of a young, ambitious doctor. She runs off with another man, deserting her husband and four-year-old daughter, Marna. The doctor moves to the country and instead of painting a negative picture of Marion, he instead tells Marna that her mother was a beautiful woman who died. The years pass, Marion's lover deserts her, and she becomes a desperate and destitute woman. The doctor becomes successful and she goes to his house to wheedle some money from him. But it is Marna (Lucy Cotton) who speaks to Marion, and she recites the story of her lovely, dead mother. Marion leaves without revealing her identity, but later when Marna marries a young writer (Harris Gordon), she goes to work for her as a nursemaid to the couple's baby. At one point, Marna contemplates running off with a friend of her husband's, but Marion hears of her plans and, by divulging her whole story, discourages her daughter from making the same mistake she did. Although the doctor finds out about all this, Marion won't go back to him. Instead she leaves in order to seek out other young people, to prevent them from going down the wrong path. This story (based on the novel Flaming Ramparts by Edith Barnard Delano) is maudlin to be sure, but it was a tour de force for Mary Boland.

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Keywords

abandonment, family-abandonment, family-member, mother, neglect, prostitute/prostitution