Easiest Way (1917)

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Even though Laura Murdock (Clara Kimball Young) is a lousy actress and the widow of a drunk, she still has ambitions to reach Broadway. An old friend (Louise M. Bates) suggests that she find someone with money to back her, and Willard Brockton (Joseph Kilgour) turns out to be the man. Soon, Laura's name is in lights, and it doesn't matter to her that she's compromised her virtue to get there -- until she meets John Madison (Rockcliffe Fellows). Madison, a poor newspaperman, falls in love with her, and is willing to overlook her seedy past. When Brockton insists that Laura could never be happy on Madison's paltry salary, the reporter even goes prospecting. But Brockton will do anything to get Laura back and has her blacklisted by the theater managers. Desperate for work, she returns to him, and Madison, who has struck it rich, finds them together. He denounces her and leaves. In misery, Laura commits suicide, but before she dies, Madison comes to her and forgives her. This picture, adapted from a play by Eugene Walter, was a perfect vehicle for Clara Kimball Young's dramatic talents. Joseph Kilgour also played Brockton on stage.