The Secret Kingdom (1925)

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In hopes of attracting non-serial fans, Vitagraph populated its 1916 chapter play The Secret Kingdom with an "all-star cast." Covering several years and at least three different countries, the plot concentrates on the trials and tribulations of American frontiersman Philip Barr (Charles Richman). Unbeknownst to anyone but a handful of diplomats, Barr is the heir-apparent to the throne of the kingdom of Alania. Thanks to the contrivances of the screenwriters, Barr falls in love with Alania's Princess Julia, who has been targeted for extermination by villainess Madame Savatz. When Barr kills Savatz' husband in self-defense, she adds Our Hero to her assassination list. Armed with this premise, Vitagraph was able to keep audiences in thrall for fifteen thrill-packed episodes.