Best Drama Movies of 1912
It's early autumn and Dr. Headley eagerly demonstrates what seems to be a miraculous cure for tuberculosis. Not far from where he is working, the disease seems preparing to soon claim yet another life, a teenage girl named Winifred. Winifred's mother and little sister Trixie are devastated. When Trixie hears the family doctor say of Winifred that "when the last leaf falls, she will have passed away," she interprets the doctor's words literally. Thinking over what she has heard, she determines to do everything possible to save her sister.
The Girl and Her Trust
A train-station telegraphist warns the next station of approaching bandits.
The Musketeers of Pig Alley
A man recognizes the thief who had previously robbed him as one of the men involved in an unrelated mob shootout.
A Lodging for the Night
Dick Logan, a young writer, stops at a little border town and takes lodging at the Mexican Inn. Two tramps see the amount of money he has and plan to steal it. In the town he befriends a Mexican girl by stopping her uncle from beating her for having broken a water jar. Retiring to his room, he is awakened by the two tramps breaking into his room. He steals out and gets lodging at a nearby house, which happens to be the home of the Mexican girl and her uncle. The tramps follow him and try again. The girl, however, saves him from harm, and it looks as if Dick had found a real heroine for a real romance.
The Land Beyond the Sunset
A poor young boy goes on a field trip and dreams of escaping to a land beyond the sunset.
The Girl in the Arm-Chair
Peggy Wilson has recently become an orphan and a ward of the Waston family. She’s also inherited the late Robert Wilson’s vast fortune, which puts her very much in Mr. Waston’s favor. He would like his son, Frank, to marry Peggy, but Peggy “is not his style” and “her money is no inducement”.
Set in a tenement, a lonely confirmed bachelor occupies a room across the hall from a dour spinster. Children run amok in the hallways playing pranks on the two. A little girl from the floor above, now alone in the world, brings the pair together and brightens their lives.
Her Indian Hero
The Chief's son, Silver Water, returns from college and is met at the station by the tribe. The Indians make merry to celebrate his homecoming. Hal Benton, an easterner, rides on to ask his way to the hotel, where he is stopping with some friends, among them his fiancée, Veda Mead, and her father. Knowing that the Indian ceremonies will interest his friends, Hal obtains permission to come the next day and bring his friends. The Chief calls Morning Star, an Indian maiden, telling his son that she is to be his squaw. Silver Water is pleased with her. The next day Hal Benton and his friends arrive. While the others inspect the camp, Veda Mead amuses herself with Silver Water and ere long is thoroughly infatuated with him, while the Indian's vanity is touched by the attentions of the society coquette, and he promises to meet her the next day. Their little tete-a-tete is cut short by the entrance of Morning Star.
So Near, Yet So Far
It's love at first sight for the Boy, but obstacles-- namely shyness, and the temerity of other suitors-- place themselves in the way of his love. Unknowingly, the Boy and the young woman of his fancy both stay at the home of mutual friends-- But all is not well, as robbers lurk outside the house.
An Unseen Enemy
The physician's death orphans his two adolescent daughters. Their older brother is able to convert some of the doctor's small estate to cash. But it is late in the day, and with the banks closed he stores the money in his father's household safe. The slatternly housekeeper, aware of the money, enlists a criminal acquaintance to crack the safe. She attempts to get into the adjacent room where the sisters tremble in fear, but finds that the door is locked. The drunken housekeeper menaces them by brandishing a gun through a hole in the wall.
One Is Business, the Other Crime
Griffith intercuts between the lives of two couples married on the same day. One couple is rich, the other poor. Time passes, and in desperation over joblessness, the poor husband attempts to burgle a home, only to be captured at gunpoint by the mistress of the house. It is the home of the rich couple. While holding the poor intruder at gunpoint, the rich wife accidentally discovers evidence implicating her own husband in a bribery scheme.
The Sands of Dee
A young girl who lives by the sea with her parents, is the object of one fellows affection. One day she meets a wily artist painting on the beach, he seduces the young girl and gives her a ring, with the promise of marriage. When the young admiring fellow comes to propose, she proudly announces her engagement to the artist. Shocked he leaves and her parents demand meeting her husband to be. She goes to bring him home, and finds he already has a sophisticated fiancée. Distraught she hurries home, and when her father realizes what she has done, he orders her out of the house. As she wanders despondent along the sea, the young fellow who has found out about her betrayal, immediately goes to see her. Finding she has been disowned by her father, he goes looking for her...
The New York Hat
To fulfill a dying mother's bequest for her daughter, the town pastor purchases the daughter a stylish hat, and gossip spreads through the town.
The Mender of Nets
A young woman who works mending fishermen's nets is engaged to be married. But her fiancé has an old love who refuses to let him go. Further, his former girlfriend has a brother who is willing to use violence to protect his sister's honor.
With The Old Curiosity Shop and David Copperfield, both released in 1911, and Nicholas Nickleby in 1912, Thanhouser established itself as producer of the best Dickens adaptations in American film.
A Tragedy of the Cornish Coast
An artist and sailors save a fishergirl from abduction.
Thirty Days at Hard Labor
Jack must prove himself before Beatrice's father will allow him to continue seeing his daughter.
For His Son
A father, anxious for his son's financial well being, develops a special soda pop called Dopokoke which is laced with cocaine. Dopokoke is advertised as relief "for that tired feeling." The drink is a success, but the son becomes addicted to it, much to his father's regret. Loosely based on the allegations that the Coca-Cola company and other soft drink manufacturers laced their soda with dope.
A random passer-by is invited to a bachelor party of rich men where he tells a tale of loss to those present.
A short western about a cowardly sheriff who leaves it up to his wife to catch a murderer, and then takes the credit himself.
A Christmas Accident
Well-to-do Mr. and Mrs. Gilton live next door to a large family, the Biltons, that struggles to make ends meet. Despite their desire to be friendly, Mr. Gilton is frequently irritated by his neighbors, insisting that they stay out of his yard, and blaming them for anything that goes wrong. During the holiday season, the differences between the two families become even clearer. Mrs. Gilton wants to do something to help the Biltons, but Mr. Gilton will take a lot of convincing.
The Painted Lady
A lonely young woman lives with her strict father who forbids her to wear make-up. One day at an ice cream social, she meets a young man you seems interested in her. However, unknown to her, he is a burglar who is only interested in breaking into her father's house. One night she is awakened by a noise.
The Burglar’s Dilemma
In this latter day Cain and Abel story, a jealous brother strikes down his sibling just as a young burglar is about to enter the house. The jealous brother summons police, who then charge the intruder with murder.
His Official Appointment
This touching short film lasts only 10 minutes, 34 seconds, but is rather engaging. Charles Kent is an old man, who has spent all he owns on influencing a government appointment. His faithful black servant, Amber (Hal Wilson), cares for him as he waits to hear from the Capitol. No one there intends to do anything but make fun of him, even sending a false appointment, to his shame.
At the End of the Trail
A short Western about the tragic romance between a sheriff and the daughter of a horse thief.
Star of Bethlehem
Following a bright wandering star, three magi from the East travel to Bethlehem of Judea to meet a very special newborn baby. Meanwhile, King Herod, driven by a hideous prophecy, orders him to be found and murdered.
The Lesser Evil
A young woman's peaceful existence is shattered when she is abducted by the crew of a boat of smugglers, who then also turn against their captain.
From the Manger to the Cross
The life of Jesus is played out in tableaux shot in the Holy Land.
Cinderella or The Glass Slipper
Georges Méliès's first attempt at Cinderella was in 1899. That film was extraordinary then for having multiple scenes and a semblance of a narrative; additionally, the use of dissolves as transitions in it influenced other filmmakers for years to do the same. Méliès was the cinema world's preeminent leader then. By 1912, however, that was no longer the case; frankly, as evidenced by this feature, his style had become dated. Moreover, Méliès had begun to adopt techniques from other filmmakers, such as direct cuts instead of dissolves, and there's even a match on action shot during the slipper trying-on scene.
A Beast at Bay
Mary Pickford as "The Young Woman", is quite taken with Edwin August; in fact, he is her "ideal". But Mr. August's refusal to get mixed up in a street brawl makes him look like a coward to Ms. Pickford. Meanwhile, convict Alfred Paget has escaped from prison; and, he is "A Beast at Bay". While Pickford and August go for a ride in her automobile, criminal Paget ambushes one of his guards, taking the man's clothing and gun. Pickford drops off August, still arguing he is a coward, and drives off. Alone, Pickford gets out of her car to retrieve a fallen garment; then, on-the-lam Paget moves in to carjack her. From a distance, August witnesses Pickford being taken at gunpoint - can he save his girl, and prove he's not a coward?
The Heart of the King's Jester
A short drama directed by William Humphrey.
Children Who Labor
The father of a working class family is having trouble finding a job, because the local textile mill is hiring only inexpensive child labor. Reluctantly, he allows his oldest daughter to work in the mill. Meanwhile, in New York, the wealthy businessman Hanscomb is being urged to speak out against child labor, but he declines to do so. Then, while Mrs. Hanscomb and her daughter are traveling, the young girl accidentally wanders away, gets lost, and is taken in by the working class family. To help them, she takes a job in the mill. While this is taking place, Hanscomb has initiated a search for the daughter even as he goes about building up his financial empire.
A Vitagraph Romance
Senator Carter's daughter leaves home and enters the employ of the Vitagraph Company as an actress. After waiting wistfully for her return, Senator Carter passes a theatre one day and sees his daughter featured in one the "Movies." He goes to the studio and after being shown through the plant he finds his daughter and reconciliation takes place. Besides being an interesting drama, the picture shows in detail the entire plant of the Vitagraph Company.
The Greater Love
A romantic Western in which a notorious criminal who is in love with the fiancée of the sheriff digs his own sentence by reuniting the sheriff, whom he has wounded, with the girl.
The Life and Death of King Richard III
Shakespeare's tragedy of the wicked and hump-backed Duke of Gloucester, who rises to the throne of England by chicanery, treachery, and brilliance.
The Detective's Dog
When Kitty's family adopts a homeless dog they couldn't guess how much it would be of help in her fathers detective work.
An old man tells his grandchildren about prehistoric man: Caveman Weakhands is unable to court a woman because of his physical weakness. Humiliated by Bruteforce, he bumps into Lillywhite, who has also been cowering in her cave in mourning. The two new lovers form a connection, but Bruteforce separates the couple and sends Weakhands scrambling. In his cave, Weakhands thinks up the design of a stone club. With this equalizer, he soon vanquishes Bruteforce and wins Lillywhite back again-- An early step in human progress.
On Secret Service
Fred Martin is a Southern spy. A northern dispatch bearer is captured, the signature to his messages is forged, and Martin is sent on the dangerous mission of luring the Northern troops into an ambush. He accomplishes this and a terrible battle results, in which the Federals are driven back. The work of Martin is so damaging to the North that plans are laid for his capture, and John Bruce, a secret service man, is assigned to the task.
When the double wedding takes two daughters away from the old man at once, the youngest, now the only one left, in outraged spirit promises never to leave her father, but soon she too is departing for a new home. Then comes a cold hard fact of life. The son-in-law claims his right to make a home alone for his wife. In his bitterness and anger, the father denies them both the house. Several years later the lonely old man meets at the gate a babe in arms. When he learns whose baby it is, heart hunger craves another sight, and sought, brings with it the only natural result.
The Crime of Carelessness
Edison short about a happy couple about to be married but the guy's carelessness at their workplace leads to tragedy.
Lena and the Geese
A first-born baby girl is sent away and placed in the care of Gretchen, a trusted peasant woman, who is the widowed mother of a child about the same age. The two children grow up as sisters. Later, upon her deathbed, the noble lady repents and sends for her child to reinstate her. Gretchen takes this opportunity to make a great lady of her own daughter Lena, the goose girl, by sending her to court instead of the real heiress. Hence Lena is taken before the noble lady, happy in the belief that she has made reparation. Lena is now a great lady, but the title does not fit well-- She longs to be back with Gretchen and her "geeses".
The Little Girl Next Door
Helen Randall and Ruth Foster were little tots. The two children lived side by side on one of the fashionable streets in New York City. One day Helen and her parents were starting for the park when the little one suggested that they invite Ruth to go with them. The idea pleased them all, and as to Ruth, she was in an ecstasy of delight. She skipped down the steps into the Randalls' automobile, and her father (a widower), watching her as the machine whizzed off, realized more than ever the little treasure he possessed.
Making an American Citizen
A recent immigrant learns several hard lessons about how husbands in America are expected to behave.
The School Teacher and the Waif
Nora, the waif, is forced to attend school. She warms to her teacher for the way that he defends her against the taunts of some of the students, but when she's made to wear a dunce cap, she flees the schoolhouse in shame. Unsupervised by her alcoholic father, Nora becomes a determined truant, wandering the town during school hours. There she catches the attention of a huckster, who convinces her that they will run away and be married. The schoolmaster, meanwhile, preoccupied by Nora's absence, leaves his other students to go find her. He encounters her at a crossroads, being spirited away by the huckster, and calls the man's bluff by saying that he'll find them a minister.
Under Burning Skies
Joe, "The Bad Man of San Fernand," is one tough customer. He sets his sights on a lovely young lady who spurns his advances and elopes with a fresh-faced young cowpoke. An angry Joe eventually gets his revenge.
The Female of the Species
A man and three women leave an abandoned mining town and travel across the desert. After the man's death, his wife plans revenge against her companion, whom the wife suspects had an affair with her deceased husband.
While their mother is away from home, Billy and his sister are set upon by marauding Indians, who trap them in their cabin. Billy rigs a keg of gunpowder and tricks the Indians into entering the cabin, while he and his sister escape.
The Mills of the Gods
A silent crime film in which the wealthy landowner Lorenzo, who has been taunting poor Miguel and his family for years, eventually gets his comeuppance.
A Girl of the West
A Western drama in which a gang steals John’s horse and then kidnaps Polly when she tries to warn the new buyer.
The Firing of the Patchwork Quilt
A mother is waiting or her son, a railroad engineer, to return home. The night becomes stormy and she discovers that a broken railroad trestle lies atop the track. She must try to get word to him before his train reaches the trestle.