The Portrait of the Lady Anne (1912)
Article 5666 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Lloyd Lonergan
Featuring Florence La Badie, Justin D. Barnes, William Russell
What it is: Ancestral spirit story
In the eighteenth century, a woman breaks up an engagement in a fit of jealousy, and marries another man. She lives to regret it and dies of grief. Many years later, a descendant of hers is about to make the same mistake. Can her spirit save her descendant?
I’ve been going through movies in a roughly chronological order lately, and I’ve definitely noticed that the second decade of the twentieth century marked a definite shift from the first decade; there’s less wild experimentation with trick photography and a concentration on story-telling and making the tricks fit the story. The main trick effect here is the spirit emerging from her portrait. The trick is nothing new, but here it is part and parcel of the story; in fact, the portrait with the missing person proves to be a clue to the descendant as to what’s going on. Florence La Badie seems to have been a star of the era; I’ve seen her name pop up a lot, and here she has a dual role, as both ancestor and descendant. The story is merely okay, but it’s well done and moderately entertaining.