The Great Torpedo Secret (1917)
Moving Picture Weekly, February 17, 1917, page 17
HERBERT RAWLINSON in a three-reel Gold Seal Comedy - Drama, written by E.B. Lewis and produced by Stuart Paton. The tale of a young munitions manufacturer and two Women's Peace Societies.
JUST the soft of a comedy-drama which suits Herbert Rawlinson has been made for him by E.B. Lewis, and produced by Stuart Paton, who was the director of the famous Special Feature "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea," which is now packing them in at the Broadway Theatre, New York. Rawlinson has the role of a young man-about-town, who is driven into the business of manufacturing munitions, when his uncle is hounded into a pretended suicide, by the persistency of two rival Women's Peace Societies. The ladies then proceed to make things warm for the young head of the plant, but, with the assistance of his Japanese valet, he manages to circumvent them. Pretty Neva Gerber, who is supporting Ben Wilson in the new serial, "The Voice on the Wire," also under the direction of Stuart Paton, is Rawlinson's leading lady in this excellent and amusing three-reeler. Here is the story:
Billy Olmstead hears that his uncle has been blown up with a bomb. His Jap valet tells him that Mrs. James Rutherford, president of the Society for Universal Peace, and Mrs. Rebecca Warren, president of the Anti-War League, insist upon seeing him. The two women and their respective followers are in the parlor, glaring at one another. Billy refuses to meet them, and when they presume to enter his room he hides in the curtains of the shower-bath and threatens to come out if they do not leave the room. In desperation, he climbs out of a window and hastens from the house. Henry Olmstead, his uncle, is the head of the great War Munitions Plant. He had disinherited Billy a year before on account of his frivolous life. The peace societies are trying to make Olmstead's factories stop manufacturing munitions.
Billy is accosted by two men who take him to a house, where he is surprised to meet his uncle. He tells his nephew that he couldn't stand the women any longer, so (he) pretended to die. He tells Billy that if he will control the plant for six months, he will give him a large sum of money so that he and Marion Winters may be married. Billy consents.
Marion's aunt, thinking Billy the sole heir of his wealthy uncle, phones to offer her condolences and hurries to the house with Marion.
Billy starts to manage the plant, but understands absolutely nothing about it. When a faker appears with a wonderful new explosive, Billy pays him fifty thousand dollars for his invention. He also buys another invention from an old man and pays him a hundred thousand dollars for his blue-print. The men of the plant are horrified and his uncle comes to the conclusion that his nephew is a fool and that he must get him away from the plant before it has ruined him completely. He decides to ask Marion's assistance. Then plant that she shall pretend to be kidnapped.
Meanwhile the peace ladies have discovered that the new invention has been bought by Billy Olmstead and they order two men to steal the plans. But Billy, thinking the invention useless, makes them a present of it. Soon afterward he learns that the government is willing to pay one million dollars for the invention.
Marion's aunt, becoming terribly upset over her niece's non-appearance, phones Billy. He hastens to his uncle's house and forces his way into the room in which the girl is hiding. Henry Olmstead explains the situation. Marion immediately informs her aunt where she is, and the latter tells the girl that Mrs. Warren and Mrs. Rutherford have been phoning to have her come to their celebration.
The Anti-War League and the Society for Universal Peace are celebrating together, because of gaining the possession of the invention of the "Magnetic Governor." Only Marion's presence is lacking, so that they can gloat over their prize before her eyes "to take her down a peg or two." When the girl arrives, they are stunned to see her deliberately hand the blue-print to Billy Olmstead, who with his uncle has been standing in the doorway unnoticed by the women. They all rush at him, but Henry Olmstead stops them, saying, "I am Henry Olmstead&ldots; but not at your service." As the two men leave the house, the women slump weakly into their chairs.
with Herbert Rawlinson, Howard Crampton, and Neva Gerber. Directed by Stuart Paton. Universal/Gold Seal.
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Last Modified March 6, 2012.