Rose o' Salem Town (1910) 17min · Short, Drama · 26 September 1910
Reliable authority states that nine million human lives were sacrificed through the zeal of fanatical reformers during the Christian epoch. Religious fanaticism was in most cases the cause, still there were many victimized to satisfy a personal grudge, and this Biograph subject shows how easily such a crime can be perpetrated. Play upon the minds of a superstitions people and you may lead them blindly to any end. In 1692 the agitation was so great in Salem, Mass., that many people lost their self-possession, some even believing themselves to be witches. On the other hand, a number of the inhabitants moved away fear of being accused of being witches. There are many relics of those days still in existence at Salem, and while conditions are such as to prevent our using the actual spots, yet many of the scenes of the picture are closely contiguous to them, our company of players making the trip there for the purpose. The story tells of the old mother and her child living on the sea coast, care free. The mother ekes a living telling fortunes and nursing the sick among the village folk. The girl we might term a child of the sea, as she spends most of her time among the wave-lashed rocks of the coast, scampering from jut to jut more resembling a sprite than a human. Off in the hills we find a trapper at the camp of Mohawk Indians, on his way to the sea, of which he had heard but never seen. A Mohawk brave volunteers to guide him to the great waters of the Atlantic leaving him there overwhelmed with awe at the grandeur of the spectacle. Here he meets the p pretty maiden and an attachment develops which later ripens into love, a betrothal resulting. As the girl reaches her home she is accosted by a hypocritical Puritan deacon, whose insulting advances she indignantly repulses. He in revenge goes to the other churchmen and accuses the girl and her mother of being witches. Proof sufficient to convince these narrow-minded fanatics is easy to obtain, for the fact of the old lady's care and curing the sick is known to all, hence they purposely construe her kindness to be witchcraft. The poor souls are seized and thrown into prison and later condemned by a prejudiced jury to be burned at the stake. As they are carried to the jail they are met by the trapper sweetheart, who learning of her pending danger, rushes off to enlist the aid of his Mohawk friends to rescue her from this awful fate. The mother is first to be made a victim and while she is suffering the injustice inflicted upon her the deacon visits the girl's cell and shows her from the window her mother's fate, with the hope of weakening her determination. She still repulses him and so is led forth to be victimized as was her mother. Meanwhile, her sweetheart has gotten his Mohawk friends and is rushing to the rescue, arriving just as the torch is put to the brushwood piled up around the girl. With a mad dash the Indians rush upon the scene, knocking down and scattering the fanatics and carrying the girl off before the Puritans realize what has taken place. In fact, it was done so quickly that some of the more superstitious thought she went up in smoke. - Written by Moving Picture World synopsis
Director(s): D.W. Griffith Cast: Dorothy West, Clara T. Bracy, Henry B. Walthall
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