The Oath and the Man (1910) 17min · Short, Drama · 22 September 1910
Before the revolution in France the nobility exercised a most despotic rule over the peasants, subjecting them to abject slavery. Not only did they suffer pecuniary oppression, but their humble households were invaded and defiled by the noble profligates. Henri Provost, a perfumer, receives a call from his landlord in quest of some perfume. During his visit this nobleman is attracted by Henri's pretty young wife. Her beauty so enthralls him that he, during her husband's absence, exercises his presumed rights, and invites, or rather commands her to attend his house fete. Here he dresses her in finery and promises to make a great lady of her, so that when her husband, who finding whither she had gone, bursts into the palace, she denies him. The heartbroken perfumer at first would return to the palace and in vengeance murder both his wife and the nobleman, but the old priest stays him, by showing him the crucifix, the emblem of Christian charity and making him swear he would never kill them. Indicating that vengeance belonged to God. Henri takes this oath and lives up to it. Some time later the peasants chafing under aristocratic tyranny revolt, with the perfumer a leader. The revolutionists invade the home of the nobleman, the occupants of which flee in panic. The nobleman himself, with the perfumer's wife, who is still with him, make their way to her former home, which she imagines is deserted. The perfumer enters, and upon meeting the guilty pair, sees his chance to wreak vengeance. He is about to run them through when the old priest again appears and shows him the crucifix, reminding him of his oath. He then waves back the mob, who haven't seen the nobleman, with the exclamation, "This is my wife." The mob dismissed, he takes the couple to an inner room where they exchange their finery for peasant's attire. Thus they leave to take their chances of evading intemperate revolutionists who are parading outside, devastating everything and destroying everybody aristocratic. What a bitter lesson she has been taught. Her covetousness has brought her only shame, terror, poverty and isolation. - Written by Moving Picture World synopsis
Director(s): D.W. Griffith Cast: Henry B. Walthall
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