Lucille Love: The Girl of Mystery (1914)

Genres - Western  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Begun as yet another two-reel Western, Universal's Lucille Love, Girl of Mystery was so promising that the studio stretched it into 15 chapters. The resulting serial, Universal's first, became a serious rival for Pearl White's inferior but better remembered The Perils of Pauline (1914), and created genre stars of Grace Cunard and Francis Ford. The latter, who also directed, was reportedly doubled in some scenes by his younger brother John, but fame and fortune came with a price. Accident prone, Lucille Love, Girl of Mystery almost cost the life of supporting actor Ernest Shields, who was badly injured by falling some 20 feet onto a ledge of rocks during an airstrip scene, and Grace Cunard suffered a broken arm in yet another fall. The serial is the old story of a longstanding feud between Hugo (Ford) and Sumpter Love (Edgar Keller), the former accusing the latter of not only stealing his girlfriend (Jean Hathaway), but also causing his ouster from West Point. Years later, Hugo, now an international spy, attempts to avenge himself on Lucille Love (Cunard), Sumpter's daughter, whose boyfriend he accuses of stealing confidential defense plans. The two combatants spend the remaining 14 chapters on a globetrotting spree that took them from the Philippine jungles to the Wild West to an underground kingdom.