Vera the Medium (1916)

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G.M. Anderson -- aka "Broncho Billy" -- took time off from his administrative duties as co-owner of Essanay studios to direct this adaptation of Richard Harding Davis' novel Vera the Medium. Kitty Gordon played the title character, a woman of questionable character who places a wager that she will be able to destroy a happy marriage and inveigle the husband into becoming her lover. She succeeds to the extent of a midnight tryst in the family's home, which is witnessed by the couple's 12-year old daughter. Her resolve weakened by the child's piteous pleas, Vera the Medium deliberately loses the wager, freeing the sadder-but-wider husband to return to his forgiving wife. Reviewers in 1917 roundly panned the film for the "unwholesomeness" of its subject matter, even though very little of a prurient nature was actually shown.