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The Adventures of Dollie
Also known as {The Adventures of Dolly}, {The Adventure of Dollie}
(1908) American
B&W : [?] One reel? / 713 feet
Directed by D.W. Griffith

Cast: Linda Arvidson [the mother], Charles Inslee [the father], Arthur Johnson, Mrs. Gebhardt, M. West

American Mutoscope & Biograph Company production; distributed by American Mutoscope & Biograph Company. / Cinematography by Arthur Marvin. / © 10 July 1908 by American Mutoscope & Biograph Company [H113248]. Released 14 July 1908. / [?] Biograph 35mm spherical format? / The production was shot on 18-19 June 1908 at South Beach, Connecticut. Biograph production number 3454. Griffith’s first film as director.


Synopsis: [Biograph Bulletin, number 151, [?] July? 1908, page ?] One of the most remarkable cases of child-stealing is depicted in this Biograph picture, showing the thwarting by a kind of Providence of the attempt to kidnap for revenge a pretty little girl by a Gypsy. On the lawn of a country residence we find the little family, comprising father, mother and little Dollie, their daughter. In front of the grounds there flows a picturesque stream to which the mother and little one go to watch the boys fishing. There has come into the neighborhood a band of those peripathetic Nomads of the Zingani type, whose ostensible occupation is selling baskets and reed ware, but their real motive is pillage. While the mother and child are seated on the wall beside the stream, one of these Gypsies approaches and offers for sale several baskets. A refusal raises his ire and he seizes the woman’s purse and is about to make off with it when the husband, hearing her cries of alarm, rushes down to her aid, and with a heavy snakewhip lashes the Gypsy unmercifully, leaving great welts upon his swarthy body, at the same time arousing the venom of his black heart. The Gypsy leaves the scene vowing vengeance, and the little family go, back to the lawn, where the father amuses little Dollie with a game of battledore and shuttlecock. During the game the mother calls papa to the house for an instant. This is the Gypsy’s chance, for he has been hiding in the bushes all the while. He seizes the child and carries her to his camp where he gags and conceals her in a watercask. A search of the Gypsy’s effects by the distracted father proves fruitless and the Gypsy with the aid of his wife gathers up his traps into his wagon, placing the cask containing the child on the back. Down the road they go at breakneck speed, and as they ford a stream the cask falls off the wagon into the water and is carried away by the current. Next we see the cask floating down the stream toward a waterfall, over which it goes; then through the seething spray of the rapids, and on, on until it finally enters the quiet cove of the first scene, where it is brought ashore by the fisherboys. Hearing strange sounds emitted from the barrel, the boys call for the bereft father, who is still searching for the lost one. Breaking the head from the barrel the amazed and happy parents now fold in their arms their loved one, who is not much worse off for her marvelous experience.

Survival status: Print exists in the Library of Congress film archive (paper print collection) [35mm paper positive].

Current rights holder: Public domain.

Keywords: Baskets - Crime: Kidnapping, Theft - Fishing - Gypsies - Rescues - USA: Connecticut: South Beach - Vengeance - Water

Listing updated: 14 January 2009.

References: Film viewing : Bardèche-History p. 63; Barry-Griffith pp. 9, 10, 11, 40; Blum-Silent p. 10; Bohn-Light pp. xvii, 48; Brownlow-Parade p. 22; Everson-American pp. 42, 368; Eyman-Pickford p. 61; Fell-History pp. 56, 57, 58, 61; Lahue-Triangle p. 34; LoC-MoPic-1 p. 1; McCaffrey-Guide p. 6; Niver-Early p. 3; Niver-First p. 126; Robinson-Palace pp. 127, 128; Shipman-Cinema p. 39; Sinyard-Silent p. 21; Sklar-Movie p. 53; Spehr-American p. 1; Usai-Griffith-1 p. 17; Usai-Griffith-3 p. 7 : Website-AFI.

Home video: DVD.

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