Daring of Diana (1916)

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The trade magazine Variety hailed Vitagraph's The Daring of Diana as a "return" to old-fashioned melodrama -- as if this particular movie genre had ever been absent from the screen! To assuage his grief over the death of his wife during childbirth, newspaper publisher John Briscoe (Frances Morgan) resettles in Paris. Twenty-five years pass, during which time Briscoe's estranged son Jason (Charles Wellesley) has taken charge of his dad's newspaper. When Jason refuses to support crooked politician Stange (Anders Randolph) in an upcoming election, he receives a cablegram from Briscoe Sr., who overrides his son's decision. After a bit of investigation, however, Jason determines that the cable was not delivered by his father, who is being prevented from returning to New York by his disreputable business manager. But Jason cannot go to his dad's rescue, so intrepid girl reporter Diana Pearson (Anita Stewart) takes on the assignment herself. Apparently based on the exploits of pioneering newswoman Nellie Bly, The Daring of Diana was wild and wooly entertainment, with a refreshingly self-reliant heroine at the helm. Character actor Donald MacBride made his formal screen debut in a minor role.