Suspicious Wife (1914)

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The 20th Century Film Company (no relation to the much-later movie factory known as 20th Century-Fox was responsible for the multi-reel melodrama The Suspicious Wife. The plot was based on a recent real-life murder case which had rocked the foundations of Freeport, Long Island. The story begins as a would-be suicide victim, a pretty young cocaine addict, is saved by a kindly doctor. The doctor's wife invites the girl to stay in the doc's home until she recovers. The girl becomes the doctor's nurse, leading the local gossips to suspect the worst. The wife refuses to listen to such talk, but she slowly grows jealous of the girl's attentions toward her husband. To allay her suspicions, she installs a dictograph in her husband's office. Upon discovering that the girl does indeed have designs on her husband, the woman orders the girl out of her house, then sets about to patch up her marriage. Seeking revenge, the girl returns to the house late one night to shoot the wife but ends up killing the wife's best friend instead. Alas, the police assume that the wife is guilty of the shooting, citing the dictograph recording as "proof" of her uncontrollable jealousy. Only the girl's last-minute confession -- blurted out in a drug-induced delirium -- saves the wife from hanging.