November 28, 2011

93. Capital Punishment (1925)

I watched Capital Punishment because of Elliott Dexter, but turns out his performance was the least interesting in this one. 
I found two other actors who made up for that, though.
The story itself was quite similar to that of The Whispering Chorus (1918), The Goose Woman (1925), and Man, Woman and Sin (1927).

sounds like mine

This pretty little creature is Eddie Phillips (1899-1965), who played a wrongly convicted boy in a very tiny role. 
If you ask me, I think he could well have been suitable for the main role. 
But I suppose he wasn't a big enough a star yet.

 Mr Elliott Dexter as a criminologist, visiting the kid before his execution

 a glimpse of hope

 then a skyward glance, cos this boy has faith

 Joseph Kilgour (1863–1933) as the Governor

 is there hope for the kid after all?

 Alec B. Francis (1967-1934) as the Chaplain. 
He was really good in the role but I didn't get a good screen shot of him.

 the guy who heard the confession tries to intervene

 The following day, in another place. 
Gordon Harrington is spending time with two of his friends. 
This is the other one;Harry Phillips, played by Robert Ellis (1892-1974)

 the other one is this girl Mona Caldwell, played by Margaret Livingston (1900-1984).
Here's Gordon showing her the paper and talking about the unfairness of it all

 Gordon is so enraged that he proposes a social experiment

 Dude is initially not that into it but then agrees

 So Gordon agrees to play dead and to "disappear" while the other two are to set up his "murder. 
They take his personal belongings to be used as props.

 Enter the two other stars of the film. 
An ordinary young couple : 
Delia Tate (that feisty Clara Bow, 20 years old at the time) 
Dan O'Connor (George Hackathorne, who reminded me of Paul Reubens a lot)

 this is Officer Dugan (Wade Boteler) who will play a part in the events later on

 he gets her a cheaper ring in the meantime

 as they are about to leave they see that Gordon guy

 meet Dan's mother, Mrs. O'Connor 
(Mary Carr, very good in the role)

 if only...

Dan is so like Pee-wee Herman


 Dan imagines what a life of riches would be like.:
It's quite moving, as he imagines himself, his girlfriend and his mother enjoying a fancy dinner together in a posh living room. 
Despite their newly acquired status, they would all be as they are now, a bit rough around the edges.

 having signed the contract, Dan hides it into a drawer

 Next day. 
The news.

 over at the pawn shop, Dan is playing his part, aiming to get caught

 Delia arrives on the scene by chance and is shocked to see her boyfriend getting arrested

 at home, the women are doing housework and waiting for Dan's return

 a delivery boy drops by and the thing he brings -
not sure what it is, food perhaps... it was too dark to see clearly
- is wrapped in a newish newspaper, 
with guess who on the front page:

 sorry :D

 the news dawn upon the mother

 Delia consoles Dan's mother before visiting him in jail

Mona has gone to see Harry who's in hiding, but the isolation has made him randy and bitter. 
He is overly assertive.

 luckily Gordon arrives on the scene and pulls him away from the lady

 the guys end up fighting and then:

 Mona brings Gordon some kind of a metal rod, which he uses to smash the randy man's head in

 ah, so convenient to lay the blame on someone else, yea?

One of my favorite inter-title cards ever
Fantabulous eyes!

 Gordon's got some nerve to bring false hope

 But he fails to deliver the goods

 the prison personnel give him some reading

 he begs for a phone call

 the contract had gone missing

 Dan gets a short leave

 to bid his final goodbye

 says the boy with the handcuffs on

 she's gone

 meanwhile the meanies are planning their escape

 Officer Dugan to the rescue!

 the Chaplain tries to console Dan who is in the corner


 the Governor gets there on time (this time), stopping them from turning the switch


With many thanks to


  1. i am curious about where you procure some of your more esoteric film choices. I lost a VHS copy of l'Inhumaine that I bought at a convention 10+ years ago, and saw you cataloged it here. I see it's been a couple months. Hope you're still at it.

  2. Hi! I love silents too and I'm very happy to find your blog. More than this, I need a little help with a silent film.
    I've heard about a Russian general who ran away from his country after the 1917 Revolution. He ended up in the US working in silent films as an extra. In one of these movies, he was hired to play a general, but dropped dead in the middle of the set. I know of a Russian general who worked in silent movies and was later portrayed by Emmil Jannings in 1928's The Last Command, but this person doesn't fit the story I've heard.
    I hope you can help me! If you do, please post a comment on my blog,


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