The Invisible Enemy (1916)

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The symbolic nature of the screenplay for The Invisible Enemy was manifested in the names of the three principal female characters: Faith, Hope and Charity. The title refers to the scourge of polio, which in 1916 reached epidemic proportions. This film addressed the attempts to deal with it. Wealthy Zamah Clark (E.K. Oswald, who also wrote the screenplay) is disturbed by seeing children stricken with infantile paralysis (as polio was known in those days) and wants to help. So she goes to the tenements where the epidemic is at its worst. The picture features the usual heroes and villains of the day -- the handsome romantic interest (Jack Cummings), the corrupt politician (William Parson), et al. The releasing studio, Z Film, had a lot of trouble with this picture -- its first cut, which appeared in April, 1916, was so bad that exhibitors were loathe to buy it. It was recut and retitled and appeared once again in September. Overall it was a poor attempt to champion a good cause.