Woman of No Importance (1921)

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The subject matter of this English-made drama based on the novel and play by Oscar Wilde was controversial in its day, since illegitimacy was much more scandalous in the early part of the twentieth century. George Hartford (Milton Rosmer) has an affair with Rachel, a girl of the lower classes (Fay Compton). But he is in line for the title of Lord Illingworth and his parents (M. Gray Murray and Hetta Bartlett) won't allow them to marry. Rachel is cast aside and she struggles to raise her son, never letting him know that he is of illegitimate birth. Somehow she manages to work her way into society and her boy, now grown and known as Gerald Arbuthnot (Ward McAllister), becomes a barrister. To his mother's shock, he lands a position as secretary to Lord Illingworth -- her former lover. The truth about Gerald's parentage comes out and he refuses to work for his father. Meanwhile, his sweetheart forgives Rachel her past indiscretion and remains by Gerald's side.

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aristocracy, reputation, scandal