Empress (1917)

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Although Alice Guy-Blache was a film pioneer and one of the very first women directors, she didn't always turn out notable pictures, as this routine melodrama shows. After the success of his painting "The Empress," artist DeBaudry (William Morse) takes his model, Nedra (Doris Kenyon), to a roadhouse and, unbeknownst to her, registers them as Mr. and Mrs. The roadhouse proprietor, who is also a part-time blackmailer, takes a photo of them together. That night, when DeBaudry makes his move on Nedra, she escapes to the proprietor's daughter (Lyne Donaldson), who is in love with DeBaudry herself. After this debacle, Nedra goes on to marry Eric (Holbrook Blinn), and the proprietor tries to force money out of her. Eric's suspicions are aroused, and when he goes to the roadhouse and sees DeBaudry's registration he refuses to believe anything Nedra says. Finally, the proprietor's daughter, who has figured out that DeBaudry is a rat, tells the truth about what happened, and Eric and Nedra are reunited.