Best Drama Movies of 1909
The Judgment of Solomon
Directed by J. Stuart Blackton.
A Corner in Wheat
On a whim, a greedy tycoon decides to corner the world market in wheat. This doubles the price of bread, forcing grain producers into charity lines and others further into poverty. The film contrasts the differences between the lives of those who work to grow the wheat and the life of the man who dabbles in its sale for profit.
Buck Minor was the most detested man in Wolf Hollow, partly because he was quarrelsome and treacherous, partly because he abused and neglected his little wife, Molly, whom all the camp adored, and for whose sake it tolerated Buck.
The Country Doctor
While caring for his sick daughter, a doctor is called away to the sickbed of a neighbor. He finds the neighbor gravely ill, and ignores his wife's pleas to come home and care for his own daughter, who has taken a turn for the worse.
The Airship Destroyer
An inventor uses a wireless controlled flying torpedo to destroy enemy airships.
The Lonely Villa
A gang of thieves lure a man out of his home so that they can rob it and threaten his wife and children. The family barricade themselves in an interior room, but the criminals are well-equipped for breaking in. When the father finds out what is happening, he must race against time to get back home.
The Mountaineer's Honor
A mountain girl is seduced by a traveler from the valley. Her brother tracks the seducer down and kills him. In retaliation, the sheriff captures the brother and prepares to lynch him. Mother intervenes and, to save her son the disgrace of hanging, shoots him.
Adaptation of the Charles Dickens novel.
1776, or The Hessian Renegades
During the American Revolution, a young soldier carrying a crucial message to General Washington is spotted and pursued by a group of enemy soldiers. He takes refuge with a civilian family, but is soon detected. The family and their neighbors must then make plans to see that the important message gets through after all.
A Drunkard's Reformation
A man arrives home late and drunk as usual. His wife reminds him that he's supposed to take their daughter out to a play. While watching the play, he's faced with his own drinking evils and how his life would be without them.
Edgar Allan Poe
As Poe's lover is slowly dying, he struggles to make money to care for her.
Fools of Fate
Fanny is the wife of Ben Webster, a trapper, and while he is an affectionate and dutiful husband, she yearns for something which appears better than her lot. She reasons: "Have I not youth and beauty and attainments far above this environment? Why should I be compelled to toil and struggle in this wilderness?"
The Light That Came
A disfigured young woman with two beautiful sisters is courted by a blind man. Will he still love her when his sight is restored?
The Sealed Room
The Count sets out to make a private room for him and his Countess, built in such a way no one can see, hear, and most importantly, disturb them. But unbeknownst to the Count, his wife has set her eyes on the court minstrel. Based on Edgar Allan Poe's “The Cask of Amontillado” and Honoré de Balzac's “La Grande Breteche”.
A Trap for Santa Claus
The children of a household attempt to capture Santa, but they catch something else entirely.
The Golden Louis
An anonymous donor drops a gold coin in the shoe of a homeless girl as she sleeps. A gambler with a 'sure thing' borrows the coin and wins a fortune, but he can't find her again to repay her.
Nekhludoff, a Russian nobleman serving on a jury, discovers that the young girl on trial, Katusha, is someone he once seduced and abandoned and that he himself bears responsibility for reducing her to crime. He sets out to redeem her and himself in the process.
Nellie flees her old life and goes east to become a nurse, where she marries a doctor. One of her old colleagues finds her and tries to blackmail her. When the blackmail plot is exposed, Nellie's husband expresses his complete faith in her.
What Drink Did
A man leaves his wife and two daughters for work in a carpentry shop. At work, he initially refuses a beer with lunch, then gives in. After work, two friends take a little while to convince him to go for a refreshing malt beverage, then to have another and another....
The Voice of the Violin
A music teacher is in love with Helen, one of his students, but she rejects him. In his anger he joins a communist group who plan to blow up a rich capitalist's house. When he realizes it's Helen's house, he tries to stop the plan.
The Violin Maker of Cremona
A contest is being held in Cremona for the best violin, with Giannina's hand in marriage as the prize. Filippo is secretly in love with her, but is also ashamed of being a cripple, so he switches his superior violin with that of another apprentice, Sandro, whom Giannina loves.
Henry and Marion have a lover's quarrel and part in anger. They do not reconcile, and ten years pass without contact. Marion becomes a society girl and spends her time at parties with her friends. Henry has become very ill and wishes to see Marion one more time. He writes asking her to visit. When she recieves the note, she laughs and tosses it on the floor, but, later, on a whim, decides to take all her drunken friends with her to visit him. When they arrive, Marion finds Henry dead, clutching her portrait in his hand. She sends her friends away and falls to her knees in remorse. Mary Pickford's debut!
Mrs. Kendrick borrows a jeweled necklace from a friend for an important social event. The necklace is stolen, and Mr. Kendrick goes into debt to replace it. The thief discovers it's costume jewelry, but the Kendricks never learns the truth; Husband and wife struggle for years to pay off the huge debt.
The Cardinal's Conspiracy
A royal woman rejects her arranged marriage. The cardinal hatches a plan: the suitor will shave and change clothes. He arranges with 4 clowns to stage an attack on the princess which he easily repels. It works; the princess falls for him, especially when the cardinal arranges his arrest.
The Way of Man
A woman is scarred in an accident and refuses to stand in the way of her lover's marriage to another.
At the Altar
At the Italian boarding house the male boarders were all smitten with the charms of Minnie, the landlady's pretty daughter, but she was of a poetic turn of mind and her soul soared above plebeianism and her aspirations were romantic. Most persistent among her suitors was Grigo, a coarse Sicilian, whose advances were odiously repulsive. The arrival at the boarding house from the old country of Giuseppe Cassella, the violinist, filled the void in her yearning heart. Romantic, poetic and a talented musician, Giuseppe was indeed a desirable husband for Minnie.
Through the Breakers
A society couple, neglect their young daughter in favor of their social life. When the girl becomes seriously ill, the father realizes the errors of his ways and stays home with her, demanding his wife do likewise. She sneaks out to a dance and the child takes a turn for the worse. By the time she returns home the child is dead. After her husband leaves her, the mother realizes her selfishness and begs forgiveness at her daughter's grave.
Napoleon, the Man of Destiny
Part two of Blackton's "The Life of Napoleon". After Waterloo, Napoleon reminisces. His triumphs are seen in flashback. The film ends with the exiled Napoleon overlooking the beach of St. Helena.
The Politician's Love Story
A haughty politician, on seeing a satirical cartoon in a newspaper, rushes to the paper's offices to shoot the cartoonist. On discovering the cartoonist is a pretty woman, he falls instantly in love and wastes no time in trying to woo her.
The Broken Locket
George Peabody is a young man who has been giving free rein to his inclinations, the principal one being drink. One might have concluded he was lost, but there was the chance which the hand of Providence always bestows in the person of pretty little Ruth King, who had secretly loved George since their childhood days. She succeeds in persuading him from his reckless life, and he determines to cut off from his old loose companions by going out West and making a man of himself. Bidding Ruth and her mother good-bye, he realizes that he loves his little preserver and promises to return worthy of her love and confidence. They plight their troth with their first kiss and a heart shaped locket, which Ruth wears, she breaking it in two, giving George one side while she retains the other, which symbolized the reunion of their hearts with his return.
Gertrude chooses Jim over Jack, which makes Jack very jealous. Later Jim dies, and Jack marries Gertrude. He finds himself once again very jealous of the late Lucky Jim.
The Cord of Life
Antonine, a worthless, good-for-nothing scoundrel, demands money of his cousin Galora, an energetic, provident husband and father. His demands are met with a positive rebuff, and when he becomes insistent be is forcibly ejected by Galora. As he leaves the tenement he vows to get even, and lies in wait until Galora has gone out on business. Climbing to the fifth floor, on which the Galoras live, he watches his chance, which comes when Mrs. Galora goes for an instant to visit a neighbor on the same floor. Darting into the apartment and raising the window he perceives the awful result of a drop to the ground, five stories below, and so evolves a plan that is dastardly in the extreme. Taking the infant child from the cradle, and placing it in a basket he lets it out with a short rope, the end of which he secures by letting the sash down on it, so that to raise the window would precipitate the baby to destruction.
The Cricket on the Hearth
After three years at sea, Edward returns home to find his sweetheart forced into an engagement with a much older man.
An impressively tactile, if slightly over-ambitious, adaptation of King Lear from Vitagraph Studios.
One Touch of Nature
Mack Sennett appears as a cop in this film produced by the Biograph Company.
Lines of White on a Sullen Sea
Soon after their engagement, Bill goes to sea, and Emily vows to stay true until his return. Unknown to her, Bill marries another woman from a different port. Emily waits faithfully for six years, finally becoming dangerously ill. When Bill suddenly appears in town with his family, Joe, who has loved Emily all along, forces Bill to make Emily's final moments happy by pretending he has returned to marry her.
The Life of Moses
Released in five parts (The Persecution of the Children of Israel by the Egyptians, Forty Years in the Land of Midian, The Plagues of Egypt and the Deliverance of the Hebrews, The Victory of Israel, The Promised Land), 4 December 1909 to 19 February 1910. A Vitagraph advertisement in the Moving Picture World (31 Dec. 1909) refers to The Life of Moses as a "Biblical Film-de-Luxe". It is preserved in the Library of Congress collection.
To Save Her Soul
Agnes, a singer in a country church, is practicing one day when a vaudeville manager hears her and offers her a job. Over the objections of the curate who loves her, she accepts the offer and goes to the city. Later the curate goes to hear Agnes perform and, fearing that her soul is being corrupted by show business, he asks her to return to the small town with him. When she refuses, he is prepared to kill her in order to protect the purity of her soul. This brings about her change of heart, and together they return to the little church.
A Sweet Revenge
After being jilted for another, a woman sends her lover's old letters to the new fiancée and looks forward to the reaction. But when she spots her old lover's glove left behind, she has a change of heart and repents.
Napoleon and the Empress Josephine
Part one of Blackton’s “The Life of Napoleon". Napoleon meets Josephine, falls in love with her, marries and then divorces her.
Faust, an aged philosopher and magician who has grown weary of life and has sought in vain for the secret of eternal youth, decides, after a night's long vigil, to call forth from the realms of darkness the evil one to aid him. Mephistopheles appears and offers him his services in return for Faust's soul. The aged philosopher refuses to accept until the devil shows him a vision of Marguerite in all her maiden simplicity and beauty. Faust agrees to accept the compact providing Mephistopheles will give him youth, wealth and love.
The Girls and Daddy
Sisters guarding their house from a burglar set upon stealing their daddy's money.
A man smokes a pipe and falling asleep causes a fire in a haystack. The owners chase him until they find him in the most cruel way.
The Boy and the Convict
A boy helps to escape a convict after meeting him at his mother's graveyard. The convict gets rich in Australia and when he returns is arrested again but released in the last moment after a dying convict confesses.
The Little Teacher
A young female teacher is assigned to an unruly class. After a student revolt, a passing surveyor helps her restore order, and the teacher becomes interested in him. Soon she learns that he has a wife. Dave, an older pupil, offers the teacher solace and it becomes apparent that he is smitten with her.
A Baby's Shoe
The story tells of the young widowed mother of two children who is forced by extreme poverty to part with one of her children, a baby girl, by placing it in a basket on the door steps of a wealthy banker. Before leaving the baby the poor mother takes one of its little shoes to keep as a memento.
A confirmed bachelor learns that he will inherit his late uncle's fortune only if he marries, which he does reluctantly. Shortly afterward he returns to his bachelor lifestyle but realizes he can't get his wife's face out of his thoughts.
Drive for a Life
Harry's jealous former mistress puts poison in some candy intended for his new fiancée. Harry discovers what she has done, and races to save his fiancée before she eats the candy.
The Village Fire Brigade
A village fire brigade puts out a fire.
A wife offers to support her artist husband by teaching piano. She can't find work at the conservatory, and ends up working in a laundry, without telling him the truth. When he discovers her lie, he is determined to leave her, until she is injured and he understands the sacrifice she made for him.