The Dictator (1915)

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The Dictator, based on the novel and play by colorful journalist Richard Harding Davis, was brought to the screen in 1915 with the equally colorful John Barrymore in the starring role. On the lam from the New York Police because of a false murder charge, playboy Brooke Travers (Barrymore) escapes to a Central American banana republic. Forced by circumstance to trade places with the nation's dictator, Colonel Bowie (Robert Broderick), Travers proves to be a most unorthodox leader of men. He also spearheads a revolution and rescues the heroine Juanita (Ruby Hoffman), with a little help from such friends as the U.S. Navy. Filmed partly on location in Cuba, The Dictator was sheer escapist fun from beginning to end. The material fared even better when it was refilmed as a Wallace Reid vehicle in 1922.