• 电影名称 The Power of Labor

  •  类型  短片 / 戏剧
  •  国家  美国
  •  语言  英语
  • 上映时间 29 August 1908 (USA)


A sensational picture story that will appeal to all lovers of fair play. It shows a condition of affairs often found in mills in this country when the owner lives in some foreign clime and leaves his employees at the mercy of a hireling. The first scene introduces two burglars who have just made a successful haul. They arrive at their den, a cave in the solid rocks of a Pennsylvania hillside, where they get into a quarrel over the gains of their ill-gotten wealth. A fistfight ensues in which the younger of the two, finding he is being worsted at the manly art, draws a knife and slashes his pal across the breast. Gathering up all the booty, he makes his escape. Fifteen years elapse, and we are in the office of John Flack, superintendent of the Great Harnagee Mills, beneath whose Van Dyke beard and immaculate clothes it would be hard to recognize the younger burglar of our first scene, but as the story develops we learn that the two men are the same. Being of an inventive turn of mind, and finding himself in funds after his dastardly treachery, he has attended a polytechnical school, and securing a position at the Harnagee Mills he has by absolutely unscrupulous methods risen to his present position. He has also acquired the stock gambling habit, and in order to supply himself with funds to gratify this passion he has hit upon the ingenious plan of making sweeping reductions in the pay of his men without notifying the absent owner, who leaves the mill entirely in Flack's hands. A reduction of ten per cent, has just gone into effect as our story opens, and discontent is rife in the mills. At this juncture danger threatens Flack's plans. Harnagee's son arrives from college. He is honest and ambitious and does not believe in owning and controlling a great business without shouldering some of its responsibilities. He presents himself to Flack, handing him a cablegram from the elder Harnagee, in which that gentleman instructs the superintendent to put the young college graduate at work. "Let him begin at the bottom," the instructions read. Our next scene shows our hero just coming out of the door of the foreman's cottage. He and pretty Mabel, the foreman's daughter, have been sweethearts since childhood, and young Bob Harnagee, having no false notions of pride, and in spite of his prospective wealth, loves and woos the girl of lowly station. The next scene is within the walls of the Great Mill. It is noon hour and the men are standing about in surly and dissatisfied attitudes discussing the ten per cent reduction. Young Bob comes along and is told by Mabel's father of the discontent in the mill, adding that if this goes into effect it will mean a strike as the men have been pushed too far. The young man promises to see Flack at once and accordingly enters the superintendent's office. Clad in the garb of honest toil he pleads for his fellow workers. "Is this order necessary, Mr. Flack?" "That, sir, is my business," replies the superintendent. "If the men don't like it let them leave." "Unless there is an imperative reason. I ask that you recall this order," replies the young man. "See here. Mr. Harnagee, at present I am master here and that order goes because I wish it, and I'll give no reasons to you or anyone else." "You are an infernal scoundrel," the hot-headed boy replies, and but for the quiet interference of Morton, one of the head men of the mill, the two would have come to blows. The new champion of the laboring man and his rights leaves in high dudgeon, while the scheming superintendent does not intend to be interfered with in his plans to obtain funds and lets the strike come. Its suppression will furnish him with an excuse for unlimited means, for the strike must be put down. Fearing that the young man may take it into his head to cable his father, the idea suggests itself, why not put him out of the way and lay the blame on the strikers? He immediately proceeds to put his plan into execution. We see him bargaining with three thugs to kidnap the young man. Bob kisses his sweetheart good-bye at the gate of his home, and as she leaves him the men accomplish their purposes. They spring upon the back of our hero and a battle royal takes place before he is overcome and chloroformed: he is then hustled into a cab and driven to the mill. Mabel's ears, sharpened by love, think they hear the sound of a struggle, and she returns to find evidence of one. She sees the cab disappearing down the street, and running after it she sees it turn into the yard of the mill, and going through a side door of the now deserted structure comes out under the car tracks leading from the coke bins to the furnaces. These are still running, as the strikers, wishing to be fair to their employers, have agreed to keep up the fires until the present charge is run. The girl looks up at the big doors leading from the bins and takes in the whole meaning of what she sees. The cowards are placing the unconscious man on top of a car of coke which will in another instant be started down the incline to empty its contents automatically into the burning hell of fire seething within the maw of one of these giant iron-eating monsters devised by man to melt iron and steel to his will, called a blast furnace. With a suppressed scream of agony the brave girl cuts across the yard. If she can reach the switch stand in time, she can throw the car on the track that passes close to the stand, which will enable her to drag her unconscious lover to safety. It is a race for life. Flack has overpowered the switch tender, set the mechanism for No. 5 furnace, signaled his hireling, and the car with its precious burden is rushing down the incline. With the strength of despair the girl clambers up the ladder and throws the switch. The car veers from left to right on the rails: the brave girl steadies herself extends her arms, and as the car rushes by she grasps Bob's shoulders. Exerting all her remaining strength she rolls the lifeless man from his perilous position to the track at her feet. Flack and his men, not caring to witness the end of their dastardly work, have fled and little dream that their plan has miscarried. Mabel secures help and she and her father take Bob to their own home. His escape from death is kept a secret from Flack, who in the meantime has cabled the elder Harnagee this startling message: "Your son foully murdered by strikers." We see Anderson Harnagee receive this cablegram at his country estate in Scotland. Two weeks later the half demented owner arrives at Flacks office to hear from his own lips the details of the dastardly deed. Flack at this instant receives the shock of his life. As he describes the cowardly work of the strikers a ringing voice cries in his ear, "That is an infernal lie," and the man whom he supposed had been consumed in the blast furnace stands beside him. A few quick words of explanation from Bob put the elder Harnagee in possession of the real facts of the case, and Flack is angrily ordered to go, with the words "Your arrest would only inflame the men, and rather than risk further trouble we will leave your punishment to the future." Dame Rumor, however, has been busy among the striking employees. The owner's sudden arrival and the disappearance of Bob become known, as well as Flack's cowardly accusation against them. So as that worthy appears at the gate their indignation gets the better of their judgment and he is set upon and roughly handled. He escapes them and flees for shelter to his office, and as he locks the heavy door in the face of his pursuers he turns in fancied security to find confronting him "Silent Morton." a man who for years has been a faithful employee of the mill, a mysterious, quiet, uncommunicative human machine. "You must help me avoid them, Morton. Telephone for the police; be quick, dont stand there like a stone." "For fifteen years, John Flack, I have worked and waited, hoping against hope, for a moment like this, it has come at last; you and 1 are alone, face to face, man to man, look!" A sweep of his hand and his brawny breast lies exposed. A deep, livid, scar extending from the neck half way to the man's waist is what Flack sees. The sight takes his mind back to a cave in the mountainside. He lives over that brief struggle, and as he realizes the enormity of his crime against this man he pleads for mercy. "Ask mercy of God: you can expect none from me." The two men struggle and Flack fights like a cornered rat; over chairs and tables they roll. Flack gains his feet long enough to grab a heavy office stool and hurls it through the large window that leads to the interior of the mill. A quick leap and he escapes, but the relentless Morton is at his heels, and Flack gains the roof of the mill only to be dragged down by his pursuer. As they roll to the edge of the roof, locked in deadly embrace, Flack's eyes catch the glare of an open blast furnace ten feet below. The strong arms of his antagonist drag him to his feet; two quick blows in the face and he totters over into the roaring furnace. With a yell of horror he meets the fate he had so calmly plotted to mete out to young Bob Harnagee. Our next scene represents a meeting between the grievance committee of the striking employees and Mr. Harnagee. He hands them a document signed by his son, which reads: ''Reductions made without owner's knowledge, The old scale of wages will go into effect to-day. I recognize the power of labor. Your new superintendant, Bob Harnagee." Our last scene discloses the old mill in full operation. Bob and Mabel, now happily married, come into view. The satisfied workmen cheer them heartily, and our picture closes with prosperity and contentment for all. The whole story is a powerful argument for fair play between employer and employee. -- The Moving Picture World, October 3, 1908
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