A Partner to Providence

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A Partner to Providence was originally episode 8 of a serial film, The Beloved Adventurer, which the Lubin company released in 1914 with an illustrated novel that told the story of the series. In this only extant episode, an English nobleman survives a spectacular  train wreck and later prevents a young man from being falsely accused of a payroll robbery which was actually committed by his boss.

The film utilized a train wreck staged by director Romaine Fielding near Phillipsburg, Pennsylvania, for his film, The Valley of Lost Hope (now lost). It was the first on-camera train wreck staged for the movies and used two locomotives that were about to be scrapped. It represented a great financial risk for Lubin who was struggling with a changing industry and losing economic ground. He approved the $25,000* crash, but made sure it was captured by 12 cameras in order to catch every angle. To justify his expense, Lubin used the wreck in five different films, a move not missed by the critics. Today, the only footage of this celebrated “train smash” is to be seen in A Partner to Providence.

* Note: Adjusted for inflation, the company spent the equivalent of $575,500 filming the wreck.

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