Case at Law (1917)

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Produced by Allan Dwan, A Case at Law was directed by Arthur Rosson and starred Arthur's brother Dick Rosson. Essentially an argument in favor of Prohibition (which wouldn't become the Law of the Land for another two years), the film concentrates on staunch anti-liquor crusader Doctor Saunders (Riley Hatch), the bitter enemy of gin-mill operator Art (Jack Dillon). Saunders' daughter Mayme (Pauline Curley), whom the doctor hasn't seen in years, marries reformed alcoholic Jimmy Baggs (Dick Rosson). The newlyweds move into the same town where Doc Saunders dwells, though Mayme has no idea that Saunders is her father. But Art is aware of the relationship between Saunders and the heroine, and to get even with the Prohibitionist for ruining his business, the saloon-keeper inveigles Jimmy into falling off the wagon. As a result of the emotional pain endured by his daughter, the outraged Saunders vows to tear Art's saloon apart with his bare hands. Put on trial for assault and attempted murder, Saunders is acquitted by the jury, who declares that the doctor acted in "justifiable self defense" to protect his daughter and son-in-law from the evils of Demon Rum.