Via Wireless (1915)

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Based on the play by Paul Armstrong and Winchell Smith, Via Wireless is one of a handful of pre-1920 Pathe films still in existence. The story opens as the U.S. War Department okays the purchase of two huge guns to defend the East and West coast from possible enemy (read: German) invasion. One of the guns has been designed by a fearless young naval lieutenant (Bruce MacRae), who is in love with the daughter (Gail Kane) of a rival munitions manufacturer. The rival's business manager, likewise in love with the heroine, does his best (or worst) to discredit the hero. The story quickly evolves into progression of serial-like thrills, involving such elements as a runaway roadster and a stolen yacht. One particularly exciting sequence, wherein a car plummets off a cliff, later showed up as stock footage in countless silent and talkie action films.