The Stain (1914)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Melodrama  |  
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An ambitious bank teller (Edward Jose) steals a large deposit and starts life over under an assumed name. While he is becoming a lawyer and making his way up the ladder of success with the help of a political boss, the wife he left behind (Eleanor Woodruff) remains destitute and is forced to give up her child to an orphanage. The girl is adopted and grows up (played as an adult by Virginia Pearson) to become the secretary to an honest young lawyer. But the girl has the same quirk that her father had, and it causes her to steal a bracelet at a department store. She is arrested and finds herself before her father, who is now a judge. Her lawyer boss is on her case, using heredity as a defense. The mother comes to the courtroom and points out the panicking judge as the girl's father, and he keels over, the victim of a heart attack. This film would not normally attract much interest today, except that it is supposedly the film debut of future vamp Theda Bara. While no one has been able to pinpoint her in any of the scenes, this could be true. The movie's director, Frank Powell ,was leaving his current studio for Fox, and he knew that they were looking for a new leading lady. He thought that Bara -- who was a not particularly successful stage actress performing under the name Theodosia deCoppett at the time -- might work out, and he put her before the camera to see how she looked. The results must have been satisfactory, because the rest is history. Since Bara can't been seen in the finished film, it is possible that Powell shot extra footage of her that wound up on the cutting room floor, but which he kept as a screen test. Interestingly, the film's star, Virginia Pearson, also wound up at Fox, as one of their second-string vamps.

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Keywords

bad-guy-turns-good, bank-personnel, daughter, desertion, embezzlement, justice, lawyer, politician, revenge, secretary