Black Fear (1915)

Genres - Drama  |   Sub-Genres - Melodrama  |   Run Time - 55 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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The plot to this film reads like Reefer Madness for the World War I set: After being ruined on Wall Street, Gordon Ellsmere (Frank Hannah) commits suicide, leaving his daughters Lillian (Grace Elliston) and Mary (Grace Valentine) and son Billy (John Tansey) penniless. Billy goes to work at a messenger company headed by the evil Horace Ely (Paul Everton), who all but forces cocaine on his employees. Ely lusts after Mary and lures her to his apartment where he drugs her and attacks her. Billy, meanwhile, dies because of his cocaine use. Lillian sees Ely as the cause of her brother's death and storms over to his place. Ely shuts Mary away before facing Lillian. They struggle over a pistol which goes off and kills Ely. Lillian is put on trial for murder; Judge Le Roy (Edward Brennan), who loves her, resigns so he can defend her. Nevertheless, things look bad until Mary testifies about what really happened that night. In a particularly sensationalistic scene, she strips off her dress to show the damage Ely did to her. Then Le Roy describes in lurid detail how Ely's messenger company serviced brothels and gambling dens. Lillian, of course, is set free. As if all this wasn't enough, the picture starts with an allegorical prologue in which Satan sends Miss Cocaine into the world to wreak havoc on mankind.