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HISTORY

A theatrical version of the novel by Frank Mayo opened in New York on 15 Apr 1895. The novel was originally published as a serial in The Century Magazine from Dec 1893 to Jun 1894. Although the Var review of this film mentions Cecil B. DeMille as the "producer," it seems unlikely that he had any direct association with the picture. As DeMille was the Director-General of the company at that time, Var may have been referring to this position rather than the actual producer or director credit. According to a news item in NYDM this film was to be the first in a series of Mark Twain stories to be adapted for the screen by the Lasky Co., but the series did not continue after Puddn'head Wilson . The film was remade in 1984 and shown on the American Playhouse television series, with Ken Howard starring and Alan Bridges ... More Less

A theatrical version of the novel by Frank Mayo opened in New York on 15 Apr 1895. The novel was originally published as a serial in The Century Magazine from Dec 1893 to Jun 1894. Although the Var review of this film mentions Cecil B. DeMille as the "producer," it seems unlikely that he had any direct association with the picture. As DeMille was the Director-General of the company at that time, Var may have been referring to this position rather than the actual producer or director credit. According to a news item in NYDM this film was to be the first in a series of Mark Twain stories to be adapted for the screen by the Lasky Co., but the series did not continue after Puddn'head Wilson . The film was remade in 1984 and shown on the American Playhouse television series, with Ken Howard starring and Alan Bridges directing. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
MPN
12 Feb 16
p. 866.
MPW
12 Feb 16
p. 1030.
MPW
26 Feb 16
p. 1311.
NYDM
22 Jan 16
p. 31.
NYDM
26 Feb 16
p. 32.
Variety
4 Feb 16
p. 24.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Asst dir
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTOR
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the novel The Tragedy of Pudd'nhead Wilson by Mark Twain (Hartford, 1894).
AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
31 January 1916
Copyright Claimant:
The Mark Twain Co.
Copyright Date:
5 February 1916
Copyright Number:
LU7572
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in reels):
5
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

In the pre-Civil War South, lawyer Pudd'nhead Wilson suffers the mockery of the community because of his obsession with fingerprints. Two of his samples are the infant prints of Tom Driscoll, the son of a white woman, and Chambers, whose mother is a mulatto nurse. Both boys have the same father, however, and both are about the same age, and after their birth, Roxy, angry at the Driscolls, switches them, so that quadroon valet. Then, the false Tom murders his uncle and tries to blame his valet for the crime. Pudd'nhead defends the accused, and while comparing new fingerprint samples against the old, discovers the switch that was made years before. He then convinces an initially skeptical jury to accept the infallibility of fingerprint evidence, after which the real Tom is restored as the Driscoll heir and the false one goes to ... +


In the pre-Civil War South, lawyer Pudd'nhead Wilson suffers the mockery of the community because of his obsession with fingerprints. Two of his samples are the infant prints of Tom Driscoll, the son of a white woman, and Chambers, whose mother is a mulatto nurse. Both boys have the same father, however, and both are about the same age, and after their birth, Roxy, angry at the Driscolls, switches them, so that quadroon valet. Then, the false Tom murders his uncle and tries to blame his valet for the crime. Pudd'nhead defends the accused, and while comparing new fingerprint samples against the old, discovers the switch that was made years before. He then convinces an initially skeptical jury to accept the infallibility of fingerprint evidence, after which the real Tom is restored as the Driscoll heir and the false one goes to jail. +

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.