Best Drama Movies of 1911
The Lonedale Operator
A young woman takes over her sick father's role as telegraph operator at a railway station, and has to deal with a team intent on train robbery.
A silent short film telling the classic story of Becky Sharp.
Greater Love Hath No Man
Short film by Alice Guy about a Western love triangle.
The Miser's Heart
Thieves decide to steal the money an old miser has hidden away. He refuses to open the safe for them, so they threaten to kill a little girl who lives in his building.
Billy and His Pal
Billy and His Pal, released on February 16, 1911, is about a cowboy, Jim (Francis Ford), who is idolised by young Billy (actress Edith Storey in drag). When Jim runs afoul of a gang of Mexican thieves, it’s up to Billy to rescue his hero. Billy and His Pal is short on plot but long on local atmosphere with the director (probably William Haddock) and cameraman William “Daddy” Paley making the most of the starkly beautiful Texas countryside.
By a Woman's Wit
Captain Jasper, a Union officer, is sent on a secret service mission to the Confederate headquarters. Safe through the lines Captain Jasper, disguised as a Commissary Supply Agent, meets old friends who are Northern sympathizers. Visiting Confederate headquarters, information is supplied him by an ally. Suspicion is eventually aroused against the Captain and he is arrested. Pamela, a Southern girl with Northern sympathies, decides to aid the Captain's escape.
Pretty Ann, and Joe, the hostler, one day chance to meet. Strong is Joe, and simple, and Ann is shy and sweet. As man and maid have done before, they love, and marry, too. And live happy ever after? Ah, this tale is new to you! Yes, the tale is drear, prosaic; and so poetry won't do. A baby boy comes to bless the union. Joe is working in the stables when they tell him of his joy: his heart is gay and happy, and he tells the horses so. Then, it might be the angels were jealous of such mortal happiness; it might be the devil, seeing the stage so set, entered to play the leading role.
A loutish husband neglects his patient, loving wife to enjoy a night on the town. When he comes home drunk and irritable, he mistreats her. Then he falls asleep, and has a dream that causes him to reconsider the way that he treats his wife.
A Tale of Two Cities
A condensed silent film version of the Charles Dickens classic about the French Revolution and its subsequent Reign of Terror.
Pirates of 1920
A band of futuristic cutthroats terrorize the skies on board their powerful airship. After bombing a liner and stealing gold bullion from its hold, the ruffians try to escape, facing only Jack Manley, a valiant naval officer, and Marie Thompson, his sweetheart. (The surviving print lacks the story resolution, which apparently ends when the hero and the police rout the pirates and rescue the kidnapped heroine.)
The Show Girl
Audrey, a charming actress, but classed among the show girls, is invited with some of her stage companions, to have lunch with an old friend, by the name of Dr. Renfrew. The doctor and Audrey, eating together, talk over old times and renew their friendship; she takes his attentions seriously and becomes very much impressed with his pleasant companionship. Night after night the doctor attends the performance in which she appears as the "headliner," and never fails to greet her with generous applause and a bouquet of flowers as marks of admiration. To emphasize his friendship or infatuation he sends her a string of pearls, begging her to accept it as a souvenir of happy days gone by. Through a member of the company in which she is playing, she learns that Dr. Renfrew is married, and at her friend's suggestion redirects his note back to his wife.
The Ranchman's Vengeance
Lorenz Pedro, a Mexican half-breed, owns a small sheep ranch, and lives happily with his wife Marie and little daughter Lois. One exceedingly hot afternoon, Tom Flint, riding across the ranch looking for work is overcome by the heat, and Pedro, acting the part of a good Samaritan, takes him to his home, where Marie, through careful nursing, soon has him quite himself again. Pedro is out daily with his flock, leaving Marie and Flint together, offering an opportunity which Flint ungratefully takes advantage of, resulting in his completely winning Marie's love. Manuelito, Marie's father, is suspicious and comes upon them while Flint is declaring his love.
Union soldiers march off to battle amid cheering crowds. After the battle turns against the Union Army, one soldier runs away, hiding in his girlfriend's house. Ashamed of his cowardice, he finds his courage and crosses enemy lines to bring help to his trapped comrades.
The Romantic Story of Margaret Catchpole
The story is founded on fact. In a village on the south coast of England, young Margaret Catchpole is being courted by two rivals, Will Laud, a smuggler, and Lieutenant Barry of the coast guards. She favours Laud, and when he escapes from custody after a government raid on the smugglers, Margaret steals a horse and tries to join him. In a fight with the coast guards, Laud is killed an Margaret is arrested for horse-stealing and transported to Botany Bay. Only part of the film survives today.
Swords and Hearts
A poor girl is secretly in love with a wealthy young planter.
When a Man Loves
Mr. Bach, a wealthy man, visits the scenes of his boyhood days in his auto and meets farmer Brown, his boyhood friend. Brown is the father of a very pretty daughter named Tessie. Bach becomes deeply smitten with the artless little country lass, and secretly hopes to win her. Tessie, however, has a host of admirers in the little village, the favored one being John Watson.
The story of how Lady Godiva came to ride naked through the streets of Coventry.
A Doll's House
Based on the play by Henrik Ibsen.
The Ballet Dancer
The ballet pupil Camilla Favier makes for a quick success and falls for the author Jean Mayol. She discovers a love letter to him from a rich married woman and is devastated. In revenge she reveals the secret love story for the cuckolded husband and his guests at a big party. Later she finds a new love message from the wayward wife and brings it to the husband, who gets furious, grabs a pistol and incites the climax of the story.
Broncho Billy's Christmas Dinner
It's Christmas, and a young woman is on her way to celebrate the holidays with her parents. A group of drunk cowboys startle her horses making her wagon, with the woman on it, speed off. By chance Broncho Billy saves her life and the grateful girl invites him over for Christmas dinner. Little does he know that the young lady is the Sheriff's daughter…
The Colleen Bawn
A young Irish boy has fallen in love with a poor girl and wants to marry her, but his mother will stop at nothing, including murder, to see that he marries his rich cousin.
A Modern Cinderella
This 20th-century retelling of the classic fairy tale keeps all the familiar elements — a selfish step-sister, a put-upon beauty, a Prince Charming, and, of course, a lost slipper — but shifts the action to a contemporary boarding house. Cinderella, played by Mary Fuller, befriends an elderly resident, who buys a party outfit for her favorite when Cinderella’s elder sister preens for a dance. The new clothes transform the unassuming maiden into the toast of the ball. Finding Cinderella’s missing shoe, a dashing young man follows the clue to his grandmother, Cinderella’s friend at the boarding house, who works her magic to reunite the couple.
Get Rich Quick
An investment plan that tells potential investors they can "get rich quickly" turns out to be a swindle, and investors are in danger of losing all their money.
A Confederate officer is called off to war. He leaves his wife and daughter in the care of George, his faithful Negro servant. After the officer is killed in battle, George continues in his caring duties, faithful to his trust.
The Primal Call
A young woman who is engaged to a millionaire she doesn't love meets and falls in love with a rough sailor.
Based on the story of the real-life 17th Century Irish rebel and the eighteen century ballad about him, this one-reeler is one of the Kalem pictures shot by Olcott and his company on their second trip to the Emerald Isle.
The photoplay has for theme the fickleness of Pierre, the village "Beau Brummel" of a pretty little French town. He makes love to Blanche, who promises to be his bride. Her friend, Mariette, coquettes with Pierre, and wins his affections, falling in love herself, at the same time. The jealousy which develops between the two girls, and the weakness of Pierre in deserting his fiancée are depicted in a most enthralling manner.
The League of Mercy
Helen, an heiress and the ward of Martin Talbot, is interested in charity and rescue work; she is vice president of the League of Mercy. Talbot's son makes love to her and her riches. In her visitations among the sick and poor she finds a young girl with a child. She takes the young mother to her home, aid and comforts her; tries to restore her to health. While she is thus engaged young Talbot, to whom she becomes affianced, enters. The young mother recognizes him as the father of her child. Helen gives back her engagement ring, denounces him and orders him from her home. The sick woman falls back dead. Helen adopts the child and brings it up as a member of her own household.
Albertina is a celebrated dancer whose fame is widespread. However, she has overtaxed her strength, is forbidden to appear in public and is obliged to seek quiet and rest. She retires to her Aunt Mary's home, a beautiful and restful country place, where she secures the much-needed seclusion and comfort. Next door to Aunt Mary there lives a very handsome fellow who has often admired Aunt Mary's niece and to tell the truth she admires him. Growing restless under the enforced retirement, Albertina strolls down to the lake where the water-lilies grow. She pulls a number of them into a garland which she holds bewitchingly above her head. They give her an inspiration and involuntarily she pirouettes, bends and swerves her lithe and willowy form like a nymph of ethereal sweetness. The young man who lives next door is rowing upon the lake; He see Albertina dancing on the velvety field of grass, is charmed by her, and rushes toward her.
His Trust Fulfilled
Continuing where His Trust (1911) leaves off, George takes care of his deceased master's daughter after her mother's death. He sacrifices his own meager savings to give the girl a good life, until the money runs out and he tries to steal money from the girl's rich cousin.
Thanhouser Company three-reel silent film based on Charles Dickens’s story of an English lad's tribulation-filled journey to adulthood, Thanhouser released the three films over the course of three weeks beginning on October 17, 1911, one 1,000 foot reel per week.
The Kreutzer Sonata
Directed by Pyotr Chardynin.
An Elevator Romance
A wealthy, hustling young westerner comes east, and immediately calls up his boyhood chum, now a staid businessman in a New York skyscraper. The westerner is charmed by the sweet voice of the telephone girl who answers his call from the office switchboard, and determines to make her acquaintance. In fact, one of the first things he does after reaching his friend's office is to make inquiries, and he is made happy by an introduction. He soon finds that while the voice is charming, the girl's appearance and manner are much more so. But the girl, being modest and retiring does not approve of such an informal acquaintance. She practically snubs the westerner, and he sees that he has made little progress in his suit. And time is valuable for he soon must go back to his home, and he has already decided that he will take a bride with him. Love finds a way, as it usually does.
A picture of the destruction of the world by a flood. 3317 years B.C: The Lord, observing the wickedness of the world, decides to destroy it. He instructs Noah to build an ark, in which he and his three sons, his wife and their wives take refuge. Noah is also told to take into the ark two of each of all living creatures. Noah does as he is told; The rain descends upon the earth, covering it with water, and the peoples are destroyed-- but Noah, his sons and their families are saved. "The entire picture is a marvelous rendition of one of the most dramatic stories in all history. The producer has looked carefully after costuming and surroundings, and he has displayed a marvelous breadth of Biblical knowledge to reproduce a scene of this character so faithfully and so realistically." - Moving Picture World, February 18, 1911
Romeo and Juliet
Thanhouser's version of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.
Richard the Lion-Hearted
Short silent adaptation of the later stages of Walter Scott's novel "The Talisman".
A mother and child live alone except for a big St. Bernard dog. One day the little girl dies and both mother and the little girl's playfellow, Don, seem grief-stricken. Later, in order to pay the rent, Don is sold, but is not happy in his new home, and day by day carries flowers in his mouth to the grave of his former little mistress, where he is finally found by his former owner's mother and they are never parted again.
Across the Mexican Line
During the Mexican Revolution, a female spy for the Mexican guerrilla fighters falls in love with an American lieutenant. When he is captured and threatened with execution, she turns to the Americans for help by climbing a telegraph pole, tapping the wire, and sending out a distress call.
Only in the Way
A crippled little girl lives at home with her parents and her grandmother. She loves her grandmother deeply, but her parents can't get along with the old woman, and the girl is torn between both sides.
An elderly woman looks back on the special times in her life, thinking especially about her now-departed husband and the things they did together. Though it is sad that these times are now gone, she is comforted by her memories and by the hope of sharing in the lives of her child and grandchildren.
The baby daughter of Mrs. Norton, a widowed seamstress, dies. The sorrow-stricken mother gazes at the empty cradle and decides to replace the departed soul with an orphan child upon whom she can lavish the love, the rightful object of which the Great Giver and Taker has taken from her. She goes to the orphanage and asks to be given a baby girl, and is given one of the twin baby sisters. Richard Golden, a wealthy shirtwaist manufacturer, has an only son, a little boy, who yearns for a sister and continually begs his father to bring him a little sister to be a playmate to him, and the father, to satisfy the child's persistent pleading, goes to the orphan home and brings home the other little twin sister. Years roll by and both girls have grown to young womanhood in their different stations in life. Jack Golden, now grown to manhood, and knowing that the girl is only a foster sister, asks her to become his wife.
The Hero Track Walker
Bill is discharged from Bar K Ranch and in his desperation decide to turn train robber. On his way to town he rescues Myrtle Mulligan, who has been driven from protection to the high branches of a tree by a vicious bull. Arriving in town Bill applies to the superintendent of the railroad and secures a job as track walker. Pinto Joe, a friendly Indian, learns of Bill's train wrecking plans, and tells Myrtle about it. Hearing Bill intends to dynamite the bridge the plucky girl decides to take a hand in the game. Arriving on the scene just after Bill has lighted the fuse she fearlessly picks up the cartridge and throws it where it can do little damage. Rushing up the bank to the track she flags the oncoming train. When the passengers and trainmen cluster about her to learn the cause of the explosion she tells them that Bill saved their lives by finding the burning fuse just in time to prevent the blowing up of the bridge.
From Death to Life
A chemist named Aratus invents a concoction that will turn creatures to stone, but only realizes the dangers of his creation when his wife falls victim to it.
The Maid at the Helm
Story about a girl at sea with rough sailors.
A crippled girl marries a fisherman, who also has eyes for the town flirt.
The Musician's Daughter
Carl Wagner's good wife was dying. His heart bled at the thought of losing her, his life-long loyal helpmate. And his opera was almost completed, after spending months of weary hours to make it perfect. A pretty daughter tried in vain to brighten the overhanging gloom. Finally the composer, after a superhuman effort, and with a soul filled with sorrow, finished the last act of his score and hurried away to the impresario for a hearing. Here he was assured of an immediate reading and the return to his humble tenement was made with a much lighter heart. The doctor paid another visit to his patient and left a prescription to be filled. Carl reached home and realized how much depended upon the medicine ordered to possibly save a life most dear. Taking his cherished violin, the only article of value remaining, he rushed off to the pawnbroker and negotiated a loan.
A man suffers heart break.
The Long Road
Edith enters a convent after losing her fiancé to someone else. Years later, Edith finds him again, now poverty-stricken, and secretly helps his family.
A Decree of Destiny
Kenneth Marsden, a young artist in failing health is advised to go south to New Orleans, where he expects to find accommodation with an old-time friend of his mother. The old lady receives the son of her dear friend with open arms, but her two convent-bred nieces, Mary and Edith, are horrified at the thought of a man in the house. However, it isn't long after his arrival that he has made a decided impression upon the young ladies.
Mary is the youngest of three sisters and of an impressionable nature. She and her sister Florence are living at home with their widowed mother, while Adele travels on the road with a theatrical company. Adele returns from the road at the end of her season, and is not home long before she realizes that her place is with her mother and sisters. She finds that they neglect their poor old mother, running off to dancing parties every night and associating with the wrong type of people. Adele, who is older and more experienced, decides to stay and watch over them.