D.W. Griffith Shorts - At the Altar 1909

At the Italian boarding house the male boarders were all smitten with the charms of Minnie, the landlady’s pretty daughter, but she was of a poetic turn of mind and her soul soared above plebeianism and her aspirations were romantic. Most persistent among her suitors was Grigo, a coarse Sicilian, whose advances were odiously repulsive. The arrival at the boarding house from the old country of Giuseppe Cassella, the violinist, filled the void in her yearning heart. Romantic, poetic and a talented musician, Giuseppe was indeed a desirable husband for Minnie. All this, of course, filled Grigo with bitter hatred and he vows vengeance, which you may be sure he will work with extreme subtlety. All preparations are made for the wedding, and when the day arrives Grigo is ready for it. He has contrived an infernal machine with a pistol so arranged that its explosion means death to anyone standing in front of it. The little church is decorated in honor of the affair and Grigo, with subterfuge, gets the sexton out, leaving the place to himself. Sawing a hole in front of the altar step, he places his weapon in such a position that one step forward by the priest would mean death to the bride kneeling in front. Grigo rushes hack to his room, arriving just as the wedding party is leaving for the church. Here he becomes a victim of the frenzy of his mind, and appreciating the fact that the awful deed will he laid to him and his apprehension will be inevitable, he writes a gloating note and then takes poison. His fall is heard by the housemaid, who, discovering the note, gives it to a policeman, who rushes madly to the church. Fate, however, seems to conspire, and the officer falls, breaking his ankle, just outside the church. A newsboy, seeing his plight, runs up, and the policeman directs him hurriedly to the church, where he arrives just in time to save the couple, who start back at his yell, for the priest had just made the step which fires the gun, but with no harm done. The priest gives thanks to God for their deliverance and proceeds with the wedding.

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Genre: Short Films Griffith
Starring: Marion Leonard, David Miles, Charles Inslee
Year: 1909
Color/BW: Black & White
Director: D.W. Griffith
Movie Type: Public Domain Films
Decade: 1900s
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