The Man Who Took a Chance (1917)
Moving Picture Weekly, February 17, 1917, page 20-21
Monty Gray had seen a photo and lost his heart. What followed is a-plenty.
Delightful Bluebird Photoplay, written by Ben Cohn, and produced by William Worthington, with Franklin Farnum and Agnes Vernon in the leads, in which every one plots against every one else.
In this delightful Bluebird photoplay, which was written by Ben Cohn and produced by William Worthington, everyong plots against every one else, some with good motives, some with bad. It is a comedy of cross-purposes, and imposters, which comes in the end to a most satisfactory conclusion, with the heroine in the arms of the hero, even though he wears handcuffs on his wrists. It is full of those charming touches of humor which mark a Worthington comedy, and affords Farnum and Miss Vernon just the sort of roles which suit them best. Here is the complicated plot.
Monty Gray has just arrived from China, where he has spent ten years of his life building railroads and where he has learned to abhor the very look of a Chinaman. Entering an hotel, he meets Wilbur Mason, a former college chum, but is grieved to learn that Wilbur is leaving town that day. While chatting, Monty instantly falls victim to the beauty of a girl's face, which is framed in a picture on the dresser. Wilbur tells him it is his cousin, Constance Lanning, and warns his friend that there is not a ghost of a chance for him, as her mother has the "Title Bug" and scorns any ordinary American. But upon Monty's entreaty to help him, Wilbur writes a letter of introduction to the Lannings. Monty surreptitiously steals the picture of the girl, which he hides inside his coat.
After a sleepless night of scheming, Monty finally decides to masquerade as an English lord, takeing the name of Lord Winston Radleigh, which he had seen mentioned in a newspaper. He hires James, an English valet, who coaches him in the art of wearing the monocle and in aristocratic manners. He inserts Lord Winston Raleigh in the place of his own name in the letter of introduction and sets out on his quest.
At the Lannings, Constance is perched in a tree and is daring the men to come up and put on her slippers, declaring that a kiss shall be the reward to the brave knight who comes to her aid. She is slipperless, for she has thrown one of them at the Duke of Cannister, her mother's pet suitor, and the other at her father, who has been peacefully sleeping nearby. The men stand like stones before the threatening look of her mother, while her father can scarcely suppress his great amusement.
Hearing her words, Monty, without a moment's hesitation, promptly climbs the tree, replaces the slippers, and claims his reward, while the girl, smiten with love at first sight, willingly submits to his embrace and ardently returns his kiss. But, seeing the monocle which dangles from Monty's coat, she is disgusted to find that he is also a foreigner, and runs away before he can catch her. Mrs. Lanning becomes radiantly pleasant when she reads the letter introducing Lord Winston Radleigh. She insists that Monty join the house party.
That evening the Duke of Cannister proposes to Constance, but gains only ridicule for his pains. Becoming furious, he taunts her with being in love with Lord Radleigh. Monty then appears and proposes to her. She tells him she will give him his answer in the morning.
Very early Monty is called out of bed by a message, and soon is on his way to the H.O. Ranch, some distance from the house, for he has received a note written by Constance saying that she is held prisoner and begging him, if he really loves her, to hasten to her rescue.
In the meantime, the Duke of Cannister has received a mysterious message which causes him to leave for town very suddenly. The same moning, all the guests discover that they have been robbed during the night, and because of Monty's disappearance, suspicion naturally falls on him. The picture of Constance is found in his suitcase and is supposed to have been stolen; the auto has been taken fromt eh garage, for his escape; the message received by Monty is suspected to have come from an accomplice, and when the detectives arrive that inform the Lannings that Lord Radleight is in reality one of the cleverest crooks in the business, who has taken a titled name in order to gain admittance to wealthy homes.
When Wilbur unexpectedly arrives, he is confronted with the letter and immediately denies knowing anything of such a person as Lord Winston Radleigh. He becomes greatly alarmed, for he thinks that Monty has probably been murdered by the villain. Hearing that Monty had started toward the H.O. Ranch, they rush madly in the direction. They have discovered that constance has also disappeared and believe she has been kidnapped.
Meanwhile, Monty is met at the ranch by several cowboys, with whom he fights, for he sees Constance seated in a chair with a revolver pointed at her head. Finally, after struggling with about a dozen men and riding furiously after two of them who are trying to carry her away, he at last succeeds in shooting the men, and again holds Constance in his arms.
When they return to the ranch, Monty is greatly astonished to see the same cowboys eating a large breakfast. Constance confesses that this is her father's ranch, and that she had arranged this drama to test his courage. Monty finds that his revolver was loaded with blank cartridges.
He is about to tell her his story, and gets only as far as to say, "I am an imposter," when the county constable arrives and, accusing Monty of everything imaginable, places handcuffs on him. Constance feels sure Monty is really a crook, for he has said he was an imposter.
The Lannings dash in and demand to know what has become of Montgomery gray, but refuse to believe Monty when he assures them he himself is the man wanted. Then Wilbur rushes into the scene and embraces his friend, while the others stare in open-mouthed amazement. Wilbur brings a message from the station agent which reads that the crook has been arrested as he was boarding a train. He was using the name of Duke of Cannister, and the jewels and other valubles (sic) stolen from the Lanning home were found on him.
Monty then explains, and Mrs. Lanning changes her mind concerning titles.
with Franklyn Farnum, Agnes Vernon, and Lloyd Whitlock. Directed by William Worthington. Bluebird/Universal.
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Last Modified April 2, 2008.