Truant Soul (1917)

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Dr. John Lancaster (Henry B. Walthall) is a famous surgeon with a secret drug habit. When he is under the influence he changes from an honorable man to one who is unreasonably cruel. His secretary, Myers (Patrick Calhoun), has him completely under his power. But one day Lancaster fires a nurse, Joan Wentworth (Mary Charleson), and when she begs for her job back, he sends her to take care of a special patient. The patient turns out to be Lancaster himself, and her task is to help him kick drugs. After much effort and emotional pain, he's off the junk and proposes to Joan. She accepts, but then he returns drunk from a trip, with Myers in tow. He attacks her, and she is rescued...by Dr. Lancaster. It turns out that there are two doctors, who are half brothers. One is the man Joan loves. The other is a nasty character who has been keeping his brother hooked on drugs so he can control him. This is something that even Myers doesn't know, and he sets fire to the house only to die in the flames. Meanwhile, a woman betrayed by the bad Dr. Lancaster shoots him, and they too are burned in the blazing house. Joan is rescued by the real Dr. Lancaster, who is now free from all evil influences. This two-hour, eight-reeler offered more than the average drug picture (films about addiction were common in the mid-1910s), and star Walthall made an impressive showing here.