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HISTORY

An item in the 24 Jul 1914 Variety reported that Jack Rose had convinced several Boston, MA, clergymen to form with him a Medford, MA, corporation, the Humanology Film Producing Co., to make motion pictures based specifically on the poems of Ella Wheeler Wilcox. According to a later mention in a review in the 28 Nov 1914 Motion Picture News, the organization had “a capitalization of $250,00 and a directorate comprised of foremost Boston business men.”
       There is some question whether Mrs. Wilcox’s picturesque estate at Short Beach, Granite Bay, CT, was used for exterior scenes.
       In the opening paragraph of his 7 Nov 1914 Motion Picture News review, Clifford H. Pangburn wrote, “The producers of this picture describe it as ‘an illustration of the famous poem, “The Price He Paid,” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.’ Aside from the fact that the poem is not famous, and the picture has no particular connection with it, this statement is correct.” Mrs. Wilcox (1850-1919), a then popular writer of homilies such as, “Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone,” had indeed written the lesser known lines, “Folks talk too much of a soul from heavenly joys debarred, and not enough of the babes unborn by the sins of their fathers scarred.” But as Pangburn pointed out, and a reviewer in the 5 Dec 1914 Motography elaborated upon, Louis Reeves Harrison’s film scenario deviated from Mrs. Wilcox’s intent. Rather than a man who made a mistake in his youth and later “suffered because of his great and repentant love for his wife,” the film presented a loathsome syphilitic who ...

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An item in the 24 Jul 1914 Variety reported that Jack Rose had convinced several Boston, MA, clergymen to form with him a Medford, MA, corporation, the Humanology Film Producing Co., to make motion pictures based specifically on the poems of Ella Wheeler Wilcox. According to a later mention in a review in the 28 Nov 1914 Motion Picture News, the organization had “a capitalization of $250,00 and a directorate comprised of foremost Boston business men.”
       There is some question whether Mrs. Wilcox’s picturesque estate at Short Beach, Granite Bay, CT, was used for exterior scenes.
       In the opening paragraph of his 7 Nov 1914 Motion Picture News review, Clifford H. Pangburn wrote, “The producers of this picture describe it as ‘an illustration of the famous poem, “The Price He Paid,” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.’ Aside from the fact that the poem is not famous, and the picture has no particular connection with it, this statement is correct.” Mrs. Wilcox (1850-1919), a then popular writer of homilies such as, “Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone,” had indeed written the lesser known lines, “Folks talk too much of a soul from heavenly joys debarred, and not enough of the babes unborn by the sins of their fathers scarred.” But as Pangburn pointed out, and a reviewer in the 5 Dec 1914 Motography elaborated upon, Louis Reeves Harrison’s film scenario deviated from Mrs. Wilcox’s intent. Rather than a man who made a mistake in his youth and later “suffered because of his great and repentant love for his wife,” the film presented a loathsome syphilitic who betrayed everyone and then went insane after being denounced for what he was. “Different stories,” said Motography.
       The 21 Nov 1914 Variety opined that the film may have been too “uncompromising” with its “terrifying detail.” The syphilitic artist “dies of paresis in a padded cell, and that there may be no detail of realism to drive the lesson home, he writhes about the floor in a straightjacket [sic]. This is not the only sample of realism gone mad. A child is born to the sinner’s victim, whereat Mrs. Wilcox needs must introduce an obstetrical clinic with relentless circumstances….The body of the dead child, mercifully hidden in a small casket, is paraded interminably and time and again the little grave comes into view. The whole feature is a succession of horrors.”

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Motion Picture News
7 Nov 1914
p. 70
Motion Picture News
28 Nov 1914
p. 45, 57
Motion Picture News
12 Dec 1914
p. 66
Motion Picture News
9 Jan 1915
p. 57
Motography
17 Oct 1914
p. 528
Motography
5 Dec 1914
p. 778, 796
NYDM
14 Oct 1914
p. 31
Variety
24 Jul 1914
p. 16
Variety
21 Nov 1914
p. 27
Variety
30 Jan 1915
p. 30
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTORS
Lawrence B. McGill
Dir
WRITER
SOURCES
LITERARY
Inspired by the poem "The Price He Paid" by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (publication undetermined).
LITERARY SOURCE AUTHOR
DETAILS
Release Date:
7 December 1914
Production Date:

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

Richard, an artist with syphilis, ignores his doctor’s advice and marries Lucie, a naïve country girl. The doctor, Richard’s only patron, buys Lucie’s portrait, not knowing that she is Richard’s wife. Admiration of the painting brings Richard a new client, Patrice, a socialite who commissions him to paint her portrait. She soon falls in love with Richard, unaware of his marriage and illness, but when Lucie gives birth to a stillborn child, Richard’s syphilis becomes common knowledge. Rejected now by Patrice, denounced by Lucie’s mother, and ravaged by his disease, Richard goes mad and suffers an agonizing death. Finally, Lucie is restored to health by the doctor, whom she subsequently ...

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Richard, an artist with syphilis, ignores his doctor’s advice and marries Lucie, a naïve country girl. The doctor, Richard’s only patron, buys Lucie’s portrait, not knowing that she is Richard’s wife. Admiration of the painting brings Richard a new client, Patrice, a socialite who commissions him to paint her portrait. She soon falls in love with Richard, unaware of his marriage and illness, but when Lucie gives birth to a stillborn child, Richard’s syphilis becomes common knowledge. Rejected now by Patrice, denounced by Lucie’s mother, and ravaged by his disease, Richard goes mad and suffers an agonizing death. Finally, Lucie is restored to health by the doctor, whom she subsequently marries.

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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.