Belle of the Season (1919)

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Produced in 1917 but withhold for unknown reasons for nearly two years, this social melodrama starred Emmy Wehlen as "Jerry" Keen, the young heir to the Keen Mills, whose workers are out on strike. Researching the living conditions of the workers, "Jerry" is accosted by Johnson (Louis Wolheim), a pug ugly man with rape on his mind. She is saved in the nick of time by James Alden (S. Rankin Drew, the handsome operator of a nearby settlement house, whom she hands over a check for $10,000 as relief "for the suffering families of strikers." Johnson, meanwhile, has discovered that Clifton Brophy (Walter Hitchcock), "Jerry's" executor, is in reality the villain who caused the strike in the first place and, in love with "Jerry," attempts to incite the mob to kill him. Alden, however, steps in at the last minute and tempers quiet down. Having just turned 21 and now the full owner of the Keen Mill, "Jerry" settles the dispute with her workers and promises better conditions in the future. The Belle of the Season may have been greeted with some interest as late as 1917, but by 1919 America had become violently anti-socialist and a film squarely on the side of striking workers was not welcomed with open arms. Belle of the Season was the final film of director-leading man S. Rankin Drew, who had perished in France in 1918, a victim of World War I.