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The Devil-in-Chief

  • Drama
  • 1916
  • Colin Campbell


Johann Szeckler, an anarchist, lives with his mistress in a tenement building, where he spends his time manufacturing infernal machines. The woman with whom Johann lives has a lust for gold, and for a stated price she delivers Szeckler into the hands of the police. Placed behind prison bars, Szeckler almost immediately makes his escape because of a fire breaking out in the prison. He returns to his room, where he discovers the woman counting her ill-gotten gains. There he slays the woman and writes in blood upon the wall his vow to reap vengeance upon members of her sex. Later. Szeckler embarks on a ship for foreign lands. There is a shipwreck. The former anarchist is cast upon a lonely island where for a long time he lives alone. Then one day he discovers the almost lifeless form of a young girl which has been cast up by the sea. His brain again reverts to thoughts of the slaying of womankind. However, to better enjoy his vengeance, he concludes to wait until the girl grows up to young womanhood. As the years pass the girl grows to beautiful young womanhood. Szeckler sits alone sharpening a knife which he proposes to plunge into the body of the young woman. When he endeavors to take her life, she defends herself. Szeckler dogs the woman about the island seeking for an opportunity to kill, and when it finally seems that her life must be sacrificed to the frenzy of this man, a young naval officer visits the island on a tour of discovery. He encounters the young woman while Szeckler hides nearby still seeking an opportunity to slay. Seeing his opportunity, Szeckler overcomes the naval officer, renders him unconscious with a blow, and seizes the girl, his intended victim, and rashes away to his hut. The naval officer recovers his senses and goes in pursuit arriving in the hut just in time to stop Szeckler from killing the girl. He fires a shot from his revolver and the girl collapses upon a couch, apparently dead. Szeckler sees what he believes is the lifeless form of the girl, and remorse overcomes him. He forgets about his vengeance to kill and wishes himself dead. Then he springs to his feet and makes his escape from the hut. He runs to the edge of a cliff, hurls his knife into the sea and plunges after it. The girl recovers her senses and is escorted to a ship. That night the soul of Johann Szeckler returns from the sea. It approaches the empty hut in grief-stricken appeal in memory of love that might have sweetened life.

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Johann SzeklerTyrone Power Sr.
Johann's MistressEugenie Besserer
The Naval OfficerWheeler Oakman
The Island GirlEdith Johnson


DirectorColin Campbell
WriterLanier Bartlett
ProducerWilliam Nicholas Selig


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