Pillars of Society (1916)

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With Pillars of Society, director Raoul Walsh fulfilled his three-picture commitment for the year 1916. Adapted from the 1877 play by Henrik Ibsen, the film starred Henry B. Walthall in the principal role of Karsten Bernick. Like most of Ibsen's "problem" dramas, the story was predicated on the fatal flaws in the character makeup of a basically decent man. Woven through the narrative was an indictment of social hypocrisy and political corruption. Foregoing the traditional Hollywood happy ending, the story ended as tragically as Ibsen intended. Pillars of Society was hardly a "typical" Raoul Walsh picture, but at this point in his career Walsh was more concerned with working steadily than with playing "auteur."