Black Stork (1917)

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This film was based on a controversial news story, current at the time, regarding Dr. Harry J. Haiselden, a Chicago physician who refused to perform a life-saving operation on an infant who was hopelessly deformed. Claude (Hamilton Revelle) and Anne (Elsie Esmond) get married, but Claude has a dark secret -- a family tree that carries a bad seed. When their baby is born, it is horribly disfigured and misshapen. Their doctor (played by Dr. Haiselden himself) urges the couple to let the child die, and Anne has a vision of the horrible life her child would lead as it grows up (Harry Bergman effectively plays a mentally defective cripple). After seeing these depressing scenes in her mind's eye, she agrees with Dr. Haiselden. This film, which was made purely to promote the enacting of national eugenic laws, was done in questionable taste for its day -- realistic scenes of deformed children and adults, even when shown for a cause, were considered tasteless.