15 episodi. Scen.: Joseph A. Golden. Int.: Leah Baird (Alice Grayson), Charles Hutchison (Bob Moore), Sheldon Lewis (Barclay), Betty Howe (Helen Moore), Austin Webb (Henry Hartman), Edmund Dalby (Mario Zaremba), Karl Dane (Carter), Frederick Arthur (Ernst Lang), Mary Hull (Marie Zaremba). Prod.: Pathé. 35mm. L.: 7576 m. D.: 320’ a 18 f/s. Bn.
Episode 1: The Torture Trap (L.: 804 m. D.: 35’)
It takes fifteen boring minutes filled with people who read or write letters and talk on the phone until the treacherous foreigners have killed the inventor and stolen the construction plans of his patriotic invention, a wireless torpedo. And then Alice Grayson (Leah Baird) appears, action sets in, everybody pursues everybody, a car falls from the bridge, the trapdoor leads straight to the urban underworld, beards and glasses are ripped off and a blind old man becomes a young detective. Alice hits one attacker over the head with a bottle and bites another, she is casual with pistols and torture, and looks so lovely with a moustache when crossdressing. “This woman is extremely clever!” says one of the Wolves. As soon as we learn – only in Episode 8 – the name of her faithful chauffeur, Jim, he gets killed. Indefatigably and once again (by Episode 13 the intertitles become slightly apologetic) our heroes, now a couple, are meeting danger and escaping it, climbing, running, driving, on ships, motorcycles, trams, in woods, caves, lakes, on towers, peaks and rails. The last episode ends in heavy shooting; all of a sudden we are out of our enjoyable colossal chase film in the vein of Victorin Jasset and into a nasty little piece of propaganda by the National Rifle Association. But nothing can demean the glory of this serial, a fabulous Kamasutra of cliffhangers. Some of its inventions are unsurpassed: do not miss Episode 6, and if you want to learn your cliffhanging from scratch, Episode 8 will show you the basics and from there you can progress to such exciting positions as proposed by Episode 11 and 13.
This preservation and restoration project promoted by Lobster is the result of an international collaboration: 15 chapters, 16 archives. Each archive took care of one chapter.
1. Cinémathèque du Luxembourg, Lobster