Money Master (1915)

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Frank Sheridan starred in this retitled cinemadaptation of Cleveland Moffett's play The Battle. Steadfastly refusing to play fair with his rivals or his clients, ruthless financier John J. Haggleton (Sheridan) quickly becomes the foremost "money man" in the country. When he wipes out one competitor by arranging an "accidental" fire, Haggleton goes too far, and his previously supportive wife walks out on him, taking their young son along. Twenty years pass, during which the son, totally ignorant of his father's identity, has become a tireless fighter for the rights of the downtrodden. The son even falls in love with the daughter of a man whose suicide was brought about by the sharkish Haggleton. By film's end, the heartless "money man" has been brought around to his son's way of thinking and becomes the city's most beloved philanthropist (a character transformation undoubtedly inspired by a similar epiphany experienced by oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller).