The Duplicity of Hargraves (1917)

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This little human interest tale was yet another one of the series of films based on the short stories of O. Henry. Major Pendleton Talbot (Charles Kent), an old fashioned Southern gentleman, comes to Washington with his daughter, Lydia (Myrtle Coney). In spite of the aristocratic past of the Talbots, the Major is quite poor, so they stay at an old boarding house. One of the other boarders is aspiring actor Henry Hopkins Hargraves (J. Frank Glendon). Hargraves befriends Talbot and his daughter and listens raptly to the old man's stories. One evening, Talbot splurges on tickets to the opening night of a play. There, he and Lydia see their friend Hargraves doing an sharp caricature of Talbot and making a great hit. The next morning, the old man berates Hargraves, who makes a contrite offer to pay him since he did serve as inspiration. But Talbot proudly turns down the offer, even though he is on the verge of starvation. Hargraves then disappears, much to Lydia's sadness. Talbot's financial situation grows even more desperate until the day he is approached by an old colored man who has become wealthy. The man insists on paying back an old family debt to the Talbots, and the Major accepts it, even though he can't remember anything about the money owed. This sum gets him on his feet again, and only Lydia knows that the old colored man was actually Hargraves in disguise.