Gutter Magdalene (1916)

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Actor-director-playwright Willard Mack made up in chutzpah what he lacked in originality. Mack's stage melodrama A Gutter Magdalene was a veritable encyclopedia of cliches, but audiences lapped it up like warm milk. The film version starred Fannie Ward as the title character, a country lass named Maida. Lured to New York City under false pretenses, Maida is forced to work as a come-on for slick cardsharp Jack Morgan (Charles West). When a young Westerner named Steve Boyce (Jack Dean) is seriously injured in a contretemps with Morgan, Maida escapes the gambler's clutches and joins the Salvation Army. Meanwhile, Boyce, unable to offer proper identification, is arrested on a drunk-and-disorderly charge and given a week's sentence on Welfare Island. Here he is reacquainted with Maida, now a charity worker. Boyce proposes marriage, but Maida turns him down, saying that she's not good enough for him. She remains not good enough for him for the next three reels or so, by which time the villainous Morgan has been removed from the picture and Boyce's persistent proposals are finally accepted.