It's Never Too Late to Mend (1913)

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Best-known today as a stage and screen vehicle for that shameless old barnstormer Tod Slaughter, the popular Charles Reade novel It's Never too Late to Mend was first adapted to film in 1913. Though the story was distilled to two reels (approximately 30 minutes), enough of the Reede original was retained to satisfy its fans. The villain of the piece is Squire Meadows, who falsely condemns the honest Tom Robinson to prison, the better to "have his way" with Robinson's virtuous sweetheart, Susan Merton. In the final scenes, however, Meadows is foiled, Robinson's good name is restored, and Susan's virtue remains intact. Audience responded enthusiastically to this melodramatic fol-de-rol, but reviewers carped that the film was too "rushed" for their tastes.