House of Lies (1916)

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Edna Coleman (Edna Goodrich) has beautiful looks, a beautiful soul, and a horrendous stepfamily. Since she is prettier than stepsister Dorothy (Kathleen Kirkham), Mrs. Coleman (Lucille Ward) decides Edna will be everyone's means of support and works to marry her off to a wealthy man. Stepmom schemes with theatrical manager Winthrop Haynes (Harold Holland) to introduce Edna to famous poet Marcus Auriel (Juan de la Cruz). But Edna feels like she's on the auction block, and even though she admires the poet's work, she disfigures her face with carbolic acid. As a result she doesn't meet the poet, but Dorothy does, and a mild attraction springs up. Mrs. Coleman has her daughter trick Auriel into a compromising position. Mother "catches" them and insists that they marry. As a reward for introducing them to Auriel, Haynes has asked the Colemans to steal a note stating that he owes the poet 20,000 dollars. Edna, who has gotten a job working as a secretary to Auriel, comes in just as the theft is being committed. She tries to claim responsibility, but Auriel knows who the real thieves are. He sends Dorothy and Mrs. Coleman away but falls in love with Edna. Only after marrying the man she truly loves does Edna reveal that her hideous acid scars were merely theatrical makeup. The plot to this melodrama was dated and -- in any case -- far too complicated.