Price of Fame (1916)

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The dozen three-reel pictures that made up the "Who Pays?" series of films released by Balboa and distributed by Pathe were not a serial, such as The Exploits of Elaine (which ran during the same period). They were twelve separate films with different characters (though the leads were always played by Henry King and Ruth Roland), loosely tied together by showing good people suffering the consequences of bad deeds. This picture, the first in the series, begins with a young farmer (King) who has singing talent. He marries a domestic young lady (Roland) and they have a child. But when he meets a wealthy opera patron who offers to help him pursue his dream, his home life comes apart. At first, when he goes to Paris to study, he continues to support his family, but later on, when he becomes a success in New York, it becomes clear that the wife doesn't care for society life. This causes a rift between the couple which is made permanent when the singer's attention is captured by another woman. But the singer loses his voice and both fame and his false friends leave him. He tries crawling back to his ex-wife, but she won't have anything to do with him until the day he winds up in a charity hospital.