The Vagaries of Fate


“This one-reel drama is crammed full of action,” declared a critic for the Moving Picture World in February of 1914. and so it is, with the events moving so quickly that it is almost hard to keep  up with the story. The film was made both at Betzwood and in Philadelphia as the story required scenes shot in “big city” streets.

The successful conviction of a group of blackmailers makes the District Attorney (Edgar Jones) a marked man. He is kidnapped in his own automobile and taken to a hide-out in the country where he is bound and gagged and left with a bomb set to explode by his head. Then someone shoots at him… What will his wife (Louise Huff) and the  police find when they finally get there?

The film contains a close up, a technique still relatively rare in Lubin films of this date. However, the close view of the bomb makes it clear that the timer–a large alarm clock–and the dynamite are not in any way connected and the “bomb” has no chance of detonation. Edgar Jones was the director of this film and his directorial efforts occasionally lacked attention to details like this.


3 thoughts on “The Vagaries of Fate

  1. Maria Cimini

    Hi there,
    my father just told me that his father was ina Lubin production at Betzwood filmed around 1912. He played one of several workers picking up a railroad tie. He had laughingly told my father how he was expecting the the tie to be real, that is heavy and put his back into it but it flew into the air made out of balsawood or paper. My question is what movie could this have been and is it possible to see it somehow? Yours hopefully, Maria

    • jeckhard

      Hello Maria,
      Thank you for getting in touch. Your story is very interesting and fits in with what we know about the experiences of other extras in the Betzwood films. We’ve heard of “telephone poles” made of papier mache that local children loved to toss around, but yours is the first story we’ve heard of railroad ties that were light weight replicas. If you don’t mind sharing your grandfather’s name, we’ll add him to the on-going list we’re compiling of otherwise unknown extras. Unfortunately, there is no way to know in what film this scene may have occurred. Hundreds of films were made at Betzwood, but most have vanished over the years without a trace. Ninety percent of the old films are now lost. If your father recalls any other stories about his father’s adventures in film making, we’d love to hear them!

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