The Slave Girl (1915)

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This race-themed melodrama is the first two-reeler directed by Tod Browning. Indians kill homesteader Bob West (Otto Lincoln) and capture his little daughter Ida. They sell her to a slave trader named Morgan, who uses her in place of a dead mulatto slave child and sells her to a kindly couple. When Fred Gilbert (W.E. Lawrence), the couple's nephew, visits them a dozen years later, he falls in love with Ida (Teddy Sampson) -- much to the consternation of his aunt and uncle, who believe the girl to be of mixed race. Morgan's mulatto slave Sally (Mary Alden) gives the family a letter written by Bob West shortly before his death, and a fingerprint on the document reveals that Ida is indeed West's daughter and is Caucasian. Morgan is killed by a posse and Fred and Ida marry. Note actor Otto Lincoln, who changed his name to Elmo Lincoln by the following year, when he played The Mighty Man of Valor in the Babylonian sequence of D.W. Griffith's masterpiece Intolerance; in 1918, Lincoln found fame as the screen's first Tarzan. 15/2rl