The Paymaster (1906) was the first film that Gene Gauntier ever appeared in. I learned about it from her autobiography that she published in serial form in Woman's Home Companion in 1928. She was coaxed by her friend Sidney Olcott to come and do a motion picture for the Biograph Company. He had told her that she would have to do a water scene, and she was relieved because she didn't want to do it in the first place. You see, she was a stage actress, and looked down on the film industry. He then backpeddled and said she'd only have to get her feet wet, so she agreed. When she got there she learned that she was to be thrown into the water! The director started sending everyone home when he was told that she didn't now how to swim, but Gauntier knew that it wouldn't do! She agreed to do it if someone saved her from the water. After some insisting, it was agreed upon. This was her plunge into motion pictures! She said that this was the most exhilarating thing that had ever happened before or since in her life.
We see that gene works in a sewing mill, and the superintendent makes advances toward her. When he is rejected he gets very upset. There is a fun birthday scene, my favorite in the film, which has dancing and jollity. Soon the superintendent decides to steal money from the mill and frame the paymaster, who is also Gene's boyfriend. The superintendent enlists another man, luring him with money, to help him steal and bury the money. A dog digs it up and the criminal is exposed. When Gene runs back and starts telling the superintendent off, she is thrown into the river and saved.
I think there may have been a small scene that is missing from the video available, but I have no proof of this, of course. It just seems like there should be a little more to tie up loose ends.
This will be where we leave our silent photoplay reviews! Beware of the Spoiler Monster!
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