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HISTORY

The 17 Apr 1915 Motion Picture News announced the recent completion of principal photography. The 24 Apr 1915 Reel Life referred to lead actor Robert Edeson’s character in the film’s prologue as “Power,” and noted that the sequence was shot at “one of the most picturesque locations” in Los Angeles, CA.
       An article in the 8 May 1915 Picture Play Weekly revealed that Edeson ignored direction while performing a scene in which his character was to be beaten by a group of striking laborers, and instead “sailed into the mob with both fists.” Although the scene had to be redone, director William Christy Cabanne claimed that the thirty feet of film were “worth saving.”
       The Absentee opened to generally positive critical notices. A review in the 15 May 1915 Motography referred to actress Olga Grey’s character as “Ruth Farwell,” while the 24 Apr 1915 Reel Life listed her as “Portia Farwell.” According to the 26 Jun 1915 Reel Life, cast member Wahnetta Hanson was also known as Juanita Hanson. Actor Otto Lincoln was possibly Otto Elmo Linkenhelt, better known as Elmo Lincoln.
       The film’s plot was adapted as a short story for the 12 Jun 1915 Picture Play Weekly, in which Edeson’s character was re-named “John Marxham,” Olga Grey was “Alma Ward,” A. D. Sears was “Robert Thornley,” and Augustus Carney was “Tom Carrol.” Arthur Paget was listed as Alfred Paget, playing the character “Slade.”
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The 17 Apr 1915 Motion Picture News announced the recent completion of principal photography. The 24 Apr 1915 Reel Life referred to lead actor Robert Edeson’s character in the film’s prologue as “Power,” and noted that the sequence was shot at “one of the most picturesque locations” in Los Angeles, CA.
       An article in the 8 May 1915 Picture Play Weekly revealed that Edeson ignored direction while performing a scene in which his character was to be beaten by a group of striking laborers, and instead “sailed into the mob with both fists.” Although the scene had to be redone, director William Christy Cabanne claimed that the thirty feet of film were “worth saving.”
       The Absentee opened to generally positive critical notices. A review in the 15 May 1915 Motography referred to actress Olga Grey’s character as “Ruth Farwell,” while the 24 Apr 1915 Reel Life listed her as “Portia Farwell.” According to the 26 Jun 1915 Reel Life, cast member Wahnetta Hanson was also known as Juanita Hanson. Actor Otto Lincoln was possibly Otto Elmo Linkenhelt, better known as Elmo Lincoln.
       The film’s plot was adapted as a short story for the 12 Jun 1915 Picture Play Weekly, in which Edeson’s character was re-named “John Marxham,” Olga Grey was “Alma Ward,” A. D. Sears was “Robert Thornley,” and Augustus Carney was “Tom Carrol.” Arthur Paget was listed as Alfred Paget, playing the character “Slade.”
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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Motion Picture News
10 Apr 1915
pp. 44-45, 53
Motion Picture News
17 Apr 1915
p. 54
Motion Picture News
15 May 1915
p. 64
Motography
15 May 1915
pp. 778-80, 807
Moving Picture World
15 May 1915
pp. 1090-1091
Picture Play Weekly
8 May 1915
p. 11
Picture Play Weekly
12 Jun 1915
p. 17
Reel Life
24 Apr 1915
p. 16, 21
Reel Life
26 Jun 1915
p. 16
Variety
14 May 1915
p. 19
DETAILS
Release Date:
8 May 1915
Production Date:
ended early April 1915
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in reels):
5
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In a prologue, Success leaves Might in charge of his affairs and goes off with Pleasure. Might, influenced by Extravagance and Vanity, forces the Toilers, including Ambition, to suffer. Justice tells Success, who returns and ends the misery. In the main story, Nathaniel Crosby (Success), who owns the National Hat Works, leaves Sampson Rhodes (Might), his general manager, in charge, while he goes on a vacation to recover his health. Rhodes, urged by his wife (Extravagance) and daughter (Vanity), cuts the employees' wages and uses the increased earnings to further his family's social ambitions. When the workers strike, Tom Burke (Ambition), a young inventor, is unable to give financial help to his mother, who has tuberculosis, or to marry Happiness, the daughter of foreman David Lee (Contentment). After Happiness becomes Tom's mistress, and Lee's younger daughter Innocence elopes with bounder Edmund Rolfe, Lee leads the strikers to riot. When Rhodes summons the militia, Crosby's stenographer Ruth Farwell (Justice) tells Crosby, who sends them away, but is then attacked by the strikers. Although Ruth, trying to protect Crosby, is shot by Lee, she recovers and marries Crosby, who sends Tom and Happiness money to ... +


In a prologue, Success leaves Might in charge of his affairs and goes off with Pleasure. Might, influenced by Extravagance and Vanity, forces the Toilers, including Ambition, to suffer. Justice tells Success, who returns and ends the misery. In the main story, Nathaniel Crosby (Success), who owns the National Hat Works, leaves Sampson Rhodes (Might), his general manager, in charge, while he goes on a vacation to recover his health. Rhodes, urged by his wife (Extravagance) and daughter (Vanity), cuts the employees' wages and uses the increased earnings to further his family's social ambitions. When the workers strike, Tom Burke (Ambition), a young inventor, is unable to give financial help to his mother, who has tuberculosis, or to marry Happiness, the daughter of foreman David Lee (Contentment). After Happiness becomes Tom's mistress, and Lee's younger daughter Innocence elopes with bounder Edmund Rolfe, Lee leads the strikers to riot. When Rhodes summons the militia, Crosby's stenographer Ruth Farwell (Justice) tells Crosby, who sends them away, but is then attacked by the strikers. Although Ruth, trying to protect Crosby, is shot by Lee, she recovers and marries Crosby, who sends Tom and Happiness money to wed. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.