Daybreak (1918)

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Daybreak was an exquisite adaptation of the same-named stage play by Jane Cowl and Jane Murfin. Replacing the original production's Jane Cowl in the leading role was Emily Stevens, a now-forgotten screen siren. Worn down by her husband Julien L'Estrange's drinking, heroine Stevens begins an affair with the family physician. The husband tries to patch up his marriage but soon begins boozing it up more than ever and as result nearly kills a newsboy in a drunken-driving accident. Despite the fact that she is now pregnant, Stevens walks out on L'Estrange, though later she weakens and promises to return to him if he'll go the "clean and sober" route. He does so, and she keeps her word, though she begins making mysterious forays outside her home, refusing to explain her absences. Growing suspicious, L'Estrange orders one of his employees to follow Stevens during one of her unexplained trips. The husband discovers that his wife has been paying visits to a young child, who is being cared for by a maidservant. Assuming that the child is the result of Stevens' affair with the doctor, L'Estrange confronts his wife and loudly condemns her behavior. Only when the child falls ill does Stevens inform L'Estrange that the child is his, and has been kept away from him so that the child will not fall heir to L'Estrange's bad habits. Suitably chastised, L'Estrange tearfully begs Stevens' forgiveness.