Up from the Depths (1915)

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Produced by the Reliance arm of Mutual Pictures, Up From the Depths seemed far longer than its four reels thanks to inexpert editing. Courtenay Foote plays a fraudulent preacher who uses the name of God to fleece the various rubes and rustics he comes across. In the course of his travels, he meets, marries, and ultimately deserts country girl Gladys Brockwell. Forced to fend for herself, Brockwell becomes a singer in an unsavory cabaret. Several years pass: The preacher, now the leader of a "crusade" movement, calls for the elimination of all "dens of iniquity," including the dive where Brockwell works. A slow-witted admirer of the heroine resents Foote's intrusion and shoots the preacher as he stages a raid on the cabaret. On his deathbed, Foote seeks forgiveness for his past misdeeds and arranges for Brockwell to start life over with a clean slate. Many of the elements in Up From the Depths bear a remarkable resemblance to incidents in Sinclair Lewis' novel Elmer Gantry, which was published ten years later.