Duel Scene, "By Right of Sword"
SUMMARY Opens on a stage with a painted backdrop of a lake surrounded by forest. A bearded man wrapped in a dark cloak and wearing a dark fur shako--apparently the novel's character of Major Devinsky--stands stage left. Behind him, a group of three soldiers move about impatiently, watching for someone offstage. According to Marchmont's story, the men should be late 19th century Russian soldiers, but in the film they wear military uniforms that seem French in design instead, with light-colored breeches sporting embroidered designs, dark buttoned jackets with another coat slung over one shoulder, dark fur shakos with plumes, and shiny black boots to the knee. From stage right enters the story's main character of Hamylton Tregethner, masquerading as infantryman Alexis Petrovitch in a similar uniform and cloak. The duelers remove their cloaks and jackets, roll up their shirtsleeves, and accept their swords from the soldier acting as "second." The portion of the book where Tregethner tries to persuade Devinsky to abandon the duel is presented on film as a pantomimed discussion, then the two opponents face each other and the duel is started. During the swordfight, Tregethner is brought to his knees at one point, but prevails and ends the duel by cutting Devinsky on the arm. As the loser storms off the stage, one of the soldiers salutes the victor. From Biograph bulletin no. 23: 114 feet. An exciting duel with the rapiers showing Mr. Ralph Stuart in the leading part. CREATED/PUBLISHED United States: American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, 1904. NOTES Copyright: American Mutoscope & Biograph Co.; 16Jan1904; H40943. Camera, A.E. Weed. Ralph Stuart (Hamylton Tregethner/Alexis Petrovitch). Filmed Jan. 7, 1904, in the Biograph New York City studio. SUBJECTS Dueling--Drama. Soldiers--Drama. Swordplay--Drama. Swordsmen--Drama. Silent films. Adaptations. Swashbucklers. Vaudeville. Shorts. RELATED NAMES Weed, A. E., camera. Stuart, Ralph, d. 1915, cast. American Mutoscope and Biograph Company. Paper Print Collection (Library of Congress) DIGITAL ID (m) varsmp http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/varstg:@field([email protected](varsmp+1576))