Shoes That Danced (1918)

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Long before he became the silver screen's foremost sentimentalist, director Frank Borzage churned out such lively melodramas as The Shoes That Danced. The story is set in New York's crime-ridden Lower East Side, where two rival gangs, the Hudson Dusters and the Cherry Hills, duke it out over the same patch of "territory." After witnessing a gangland rub-out, cabaret girl Rhoda Regan (Pauline Starke), sweetheart of Hudson Duster leader Harmony Lad (Wallace MacDonald), begins fearing for the safety of herself and her boyfriend. For Rhoda's sake, Harmony Lad promises to quit the rackets, and to that end takes a job as a nightclub entertainer. Unfortunately, our hero is framed for a murder he didn't commit and is forced to take it on the lam. Seeking vengeance against the rat who framed him, Harmony realizes that his love for Rhoda is too strong for him to revert to his old luggish ways. Thus "redeemed," Harmony is permitted a happy ending with Rhoda by his side.