Synopsis by Hans J. Wollstein
Although not as remembered as The Perils of Pauline (also 1914), The Exploits of Elaine was by all accounts the superior serial, grossing over $1 million dollars and further establishing its athletic leading lady Pearl White as the serial queen to beat. White played Elaine Dodge, whose father (William Riley Hatch) is murdered for some papers that may reveal the secret hideaway of a notorious and ruthless master criminal known only as The Clutching Hand (Sheldon Lewis). Helping Elaine track down the villain is noted detective Craig Kennedy (Arnold Daly), who is himself aided by newspaperman Walter Jameson (Creighton Hale in the first three chapters then Raymond Owens in chapters 4-14). Among the Clutching Hand's minions and henchmen are a South American Indian who uses darts dipped in curare as his weapon of choice, an insane scientist who invents an apocalyptic killing machine, and a gang of crooks known as "The Brotherhood of the Falsers." Along the way, Elaine is framed in a blackmail scheme by Wu Fang (Edwin Arden), a devil-worshipping Asian, and is almost sacrificed to the devil herself. Our heroine is rescued again and again by the stalwart Mr. Kennedy, who uses a scientific gadget or two to battle the forces of evil. Produced by the Wharton Brothers in and around Ithaca, New York, The Exploits of Elaine was co-directed by George B. Seitz, an early serial expert who is today perhaps better known for helming M-G-M's pleasantly nostalgic "Andy Hardy" series 1937-1944.
High Historical Importance