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HISTORY

The 8 January 1916 Moving Picture World announced that producer David Horsley had left New York City on 20 December 1915 after signing a contract with Mutual to make movies for its Mutual Masterpictures, De Luxe Edition, series. Arriving at his Los Angeles studios, he began supervising the first two films, The Bait and Vengeance Is Mine (see entry). They were completed and released on the last two weeks of January. To prepare for these new Mutual movies, Horsley had recently expanded his five-acre studio at South Main Street and Washington Boulevard, south of downtown Los Angeles, which gave him "an additional studio floor space of 20,000 feet," according to the 25 December 1915 Motion Picture News. The 1 January 1916 Motion Picture News added: "A big Western saloon of the type seen in the timber country was built" there for The Bait.
       According to the 15 January 1916 Motion Picture News, director William J. Bowman and his company had just returned from three days of filming at Santa Catalina Island near Los Angeles and Santa Rosa Island off the coast of Santa Barbara.
       The 15 January 1916 Moving Picture World reported that "the Bostock animals" were used in a number of outdoor scenes. This was a reference to the Bostock Animal and Jungle Show, several dozen trained wild animals, including bears and big cats, which Horsley had purchased after trainer Frank Bostock's 1912 death. He brought this menagerie to his new Los Angeles facility to display under the name Bostock's Jungle, but the downtown enterprise floundered, so he began his new film ...

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The 8 January 1916 Moving Picture World announced that producer David Horsley had left New York City on 20 December 1915 after signing a contract with Mutual to make movies for its Mutual Masterpictures, De Luxe Edition, series. Arriving at his Los Angeles studios, he began supervising the first two films, The Bait and Vengeance Is Mine (see entry). They were completed and released on the last two weeks of January. To prepare for these new Mutual movies, Horsley had recently expanded his five-acre studio at South Main Street and Washington Boulevard, south of downtown Los Angeles, which gave him "an additional studio floor space of 20,000 feet," according to the 25 December 1915 Motion Picture News. The 1 January 1916 Motion Picture News added: "A big Western saloon of the type seen in the timber country was built" there for The Bait.
       According to the 15 January 1916 Motion Picture News, director William J. Bowman and his company had just returned from three days of filming at Santa Catalina Island near Los Angeles and Santa Rosa Island off the coast of Santa Barbara.
       The 15 January 1916 Moving Picture World reported that "the Bostock animals" were used in a number of outdoor scenes. This was a reference to the Bostock Animal and Jungle Show, several dozen trained wild animals, including bears and big cats, which Horsley had purchased after trainer Frank Bostock's 1912 death. He brought this menagerie to his new Los Angeles facility to display under the name Bostock's Jungle, but the downtown enterprise floundered, so he began his new film company to exploit them, mostly in short Mutual comedies and animal pictures. Horsley's advertisement in the 15 January 1916 Moving Picture World referred to a bear and a puma in The Bait as "the incomparable quadruped pantomimists." The animal scenes in The Bait, as in other films, were supervised by Captain Jack Bonavita. (Bonavita would be killed by a polar bear the following year, on 19 March 1917.) For more detailed articles about Horsley's studio, see the 10 July 1915 Moving Picture World and the June 1916 Photo-Play Journal.
       A full-page Mutual Masterpictures advertisement for The Bait in the 15 January 1916 Motion Picture News boasted that Margaret Gibson was starring with "The Famous Bostock Animals." However, an item in that same week's Moving Picture World noted that the advertisement was in error, and that Betty Hart was the female lead. Gibson starred in the third film of the series, The Soul's Cycle (see entry).
       Horsley had originally formed the Centaur Film Company in Bayonne, NJ, in 1907. When he moved to Hollywood, CA, in 1911, Horsley teamed with Al Christie to form Nestor Motion Picture Company. However, after merging Nestor with Universal Pictures, he sold his company shares, formed David Horsley Productions, and reintroduced the Centaur brand in early 1916.
       According to the Library of Congress American Silent Feature Film Survival Database, this film is extant.

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Motion Picture News
25 Dec 1915
p. 104
Motion Picture News
1 Jan 1916
p. 74
Motion Picture News
15 Jan 1916
p. 172, 236
Motion Picture News
29 Jan 1916
p. 562
Motography
22 Jan 1916
p. 180
Motography
5 Feb 1916
p. 314
Moving Picture World
10 Jul 1915
p. 253, 254
Moving Picture World
8 Jan 1916
p. 214, 249
Moving Picture World
15 Jan 1916
p. 368, 403, 445, 490
Moving Picture World
22 Jan 1916
p. 622
Moving Picture World
20 May 1916
p. 1400
Photo-Play Journal
Jun 1916
pp. 20-21
Reel Life
1 Jan 1916
p. 14
DETAILS
Release Date:
22 January 1916
Production Date:

Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in feet):
5,000
Length(in reels):
5
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

The film begins with a man's hands preparing a steel bear trap in the woods, opening its jaws, then scattering leaves over it and placing a leg of meat on top. Cut to: the swinging doors of the Red Dog Saloon, opening and springing back into place like a bear trap. Tom Sloan, a gambler who owns the place, makes his wife Margot work as "bait," convincing men to enter and then taking their money. One man, Ed Mitchell, despite his intoxication, suspects the trap, wounds Margot's father "Old Bill" and badly wounds Tom. Margot and Old Bill, thinking Tom is dead, leave town and, in the woods, are rescued by trapper-fur company paymaster Bruce Powell, who puts them up in his cabin. Just before dying, Old Bill confesses that Margot and Tom were never legally married. Margot then marries Bruce and lives happily with him. Tom, having survived, arrives in the neighborhood, however, and finds Margot. He forces her to give him the money with which Powell planned to pay other trappers. Again the "bait," Margot lures Tom to a large animal trap, and this time the crooked gambler is killed. Powell, who had been accused of taking the money, is exonerated, and he and Margot renew their ...

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The film begins with a man's hands preparing a steel bear trap in the woods, opening its jaws, then scattering leaves over it and placing a leg of meat on top. Cut to: the swinging doors of the Red Dog Saloon, opening and springing back into place like a bear trap. Tom Sloan, a gambler who owns the place, makes his wife Margot work as "bait," convincing men to enter and then taking their money. One man, Ed Mitchell, despite his intoxication, suspects the trap, wounds Margot's father "Old Bill" and badly wounds Tom. Margot and Old Bill, thinking Tom is dead, leave town and, in the woods, are rescued by trapper-fur company paymaster Bruce Powell, who puts them up in his cabin. Just before dying, Old Bill confesses that Margot and Tom were never legally married. Margot then marries Bruce and lives happily with him. Tom, having survived, arrives in the neighborhood, however, and finds Margot. He forces her to give him the money with which Powell planned to pay other trappers. Again the "bait," Margot lures Tom to a large animal trap, and this time the crooked gambler is killed. Powell, who had been accused of taking the money, is exonerated, and he and Margot renew their love.

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GENRE
Genre:
Sub-genre:
Northwest


Subject

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.