Telltale Step (1917)

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The trade magazine Variety dismissed Edison's The Telltale Step as "a nickelodeon feature," which was about as insulting as a trade paper could get in 1917. The story is motivated by a long-standing Mafia vendetta, which comes to a head early in the proceedings when an Italian immigrant is murdered by a hired assassin. The victim's blind daughter Lucia (Shirley Mason) was the sole witness to the crime, and while she cannot identify the culprit by name, she can recognize him by the unusual sound of his footsteps. As Lucia tries to get on with her life, she is watched closely by the killer, who intends to bump off the girl the moment she is able to identify him. The heroine is rescued by the timely arrival of her sweetheart, and the villain finally goes to the gallows. Derisively commenting on the film's lack of production values, Variety "praised" the producers for going to the expense of smashing a dozen eggs during one crucial scene.