Master and Man (1915)

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Produced by Britain's Neptune Film Company, Master and Man was based on the same-named stage piece by George R. Sims and Henry Petitt. The scene is a factory town, where the owner steals away the wife of one of his workmen. The jilted husband becomes a drunk, while his wife comes to grief in another fashion when her new lover deserts her. Unfazed by all the havoc he's caused, the owner tries to seduce the wife of the film's hero. When the owner is found shot to death, the hero is blamed and carted off to jail. Escaping, the hero returns to the factory community hoping to get to the truth of the matter. Finding himself in the middle of a labor dispute, he saves the life of the owner's chief henchman. Out of gratitude, the henchman confesses that he, and not the hero, was the murderer. The resultant happy ending is made even more so when the workman who was driven to drink by his wife's infidelity is inspired by the hero's exoneration to give up booze for good and all. Master and Man was remade in 1929, with all of its surefire heart-tugging gimmickry intact.