Wedlock (1918)

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The title of this emotionally supercharged melodrama could just as well have been "Deadlock." Low-born Marjery Harding (Louise Glaum) marries high-born Granger Hollister (John Gilbert), who at first insists upon keeping their marriage a secret. When Hollister finally tells all to his aristocratic family, he chooses the occasion of his sister Jane's (Leatrice Joy) engagement party. Shocked beyond words, Jane's fiance, Lord Cecil Graydon (Harry Archer), calls off the wedding. For his sister's sake, Hollister announces that he will annul his marriage to Marjery. Marjery does not take kindly to this, and stubbornly refuses the huge cash settlement offered to her by the Hollisters, even though there is a baby on the way. Marjery heads to the West, where she devotes herself to charity work. Meanwhile, Hollister gets mixed up in a shady business deal and is sentenced to a five-year prison term. Escaping from jail, he goes "on the bum," and by the time he is reunited with Marjery he is just another derelict in need of a square meal. Taking pity on her former husband, Marjery arranges for his pardon and marries him all over again. John Gilbert and Leatrice Joy, here cast as brother and sister, would soon become husband and wife in "real life."