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Silas Marner: Originally seven reels, February 19, 1916, this version three reels, release date unknown.
Frederick Warde in his motion picture debut in the leading role as the bent and twisted miser whose life of selfishness is changed by the influence of a child.
Print source: Thanhouser Collection, 43 minutes 26 seconds.
Directed by Ernest Warde. Assistant Director, Frank L. Gereghty. Photographed by William Zollinger. Scenario by Philip Lonergan, based on the novel by George Eliot.
Cast: Frederick Warde (Silas Marner), Louise Emerald Bates (his sweetheart), Morgan Jones (his supposed friend), Frank S. McNish (Squire Cass), Thomas A Curran (Godrey, the older son of the squire), Baroness DeWitz “Valda Valkyrien” (Molly, the barmaid in the neighboring village of Shoreham), Hector Dion (Dunstan, the squire’s younger son), Kathryn Adams (Silas Marner’s foster daughter grown to womanhood), Edwin Stanley (her betrothed), Arthur L. Rankin (Lammeter), Frank L. Gereghty, Ethel Jewett (Nancy, the youngest daughter), Elise Jordan (Priscilla, the
Original music composed and performed by Ben Model (silentfilmmusic.com).
From the very beginning, Thanhouser had a knack for pictorializing classic plays and novels, especially quaint period stories. The title character, a kindly weaver, is wrongly accused of murder and theft and becomes an embittered miser. Meanwhile, the real villain is blackmailed. The lives of various characters intertwine eventfully with the life of Silas Marner, and events over the decades restore his humanity. A rich variety of locations (including genuine snow—take that, Hollywood!), one of Thanhouser’s specialties, is at its best here. Silas’ fire-lit cabin interior has dramatically effective special lighting not possible a couple of years earlier. The story suffers from severe truncation in this version (reduced to less than half its original length for a post-Thanhouser re-release), but benefits from Frederick Warde’s detailed acting.
This film is available on DVD from Thanhouser Film Company Preservation, Inc. at thanhouser.org