AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
Name Occurs Before Title Offscreen Credit Print Viewed By AFI
The Cheat
Director: Cecil B. DeMille () (Prod [Dir])
Release Date:   13 Dec 1915
Production Date:   20 Oct 1915 to 10 Nov 1915
Duration (in feet):   4,243
Duration (in reels):   5
Print this page
Display Movie Summary

Available Formats
Facets DVD VHS LaserDisk
Grapevine DVD VHS LaserDisk
Image DVD VHS LaserDisk
Kino DVD VHS LaserDisk
Movies Unlimited DVD VHS LaserDisk

Cast: [In order of appearance:] Sessue Hayakawa (Hishuru Tori [Haka Arakau])  
    Jack Dean (Richard Hardy)  
    Fannie Ward (Edith Hardy)  
    James Neill (Jones)  
    Utaka Abe (Tori's valet)  
    Dana Ong (District Attorney)  
    Hazel Childers (Mrs. Reynolds)  
    Judge Arthur H. Williams (Courtroom judge)  

Summary: Edith Hardy, whose obsession with expensive clothes irritates her husband Dick, a stockbroker, complains of Richard's frugality to her admirer, Hishuru Tori, a wealthy Japanese curio dealer who, like Edith, is a member of Long Island's "smart set." After a friend gives her a stock tip on a copper company, Edith invests the $10,000 raised for the Red Cross Belgian relief fund, with which she, as treasurer, is entrusted. When the company fails, Edith frantically appeals to Tori for help, and agrees that in exchange for the money, she will come to him the next night. When Richard tells Edith that his investments have capitalized, Edith persuades him to part with $10,000, but Tori, refusing to accept it, becomes enraged, and with his curio iron, brands his seal on her flesh. Writhing with pain, Edith shoots Tori and escapes. To protect Edith, Richard assumes the blame, but at the trial, Edith climaxes her story by baring her branded shoulder. The enraged crowd nearly lynches Tori, as Richard's charges are dismissed. 

Production Company: Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Co.  
Distribution Company: Paramount Pictures Corp.  
Director: Cecil B. DeMille (Prod [Dir])
Producer: Jesse L. Lasky (Pres)
Writer: Hector Turnbull (Story)
  Hector Turnbull (Scen)
  Jeanie Macpherson (Scen)
Photography: Alvin Wyckoff (Photog)
Art Direction: Wilfred Buckland (Art dir)
Country: United States
Language: English

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Co., Inc. 8/12/1915 dd/mm/yyyy LU7164

Physical Properties: b&w:

Genre: Drama
Sub-Genre: Society
Subjects (Major): Branding
  Japanese Americans
Subjects (Minor): Clothes
  Curio dealers
  Gunshot wounds
  Long Island (NY)
  Red Cross

Note:        According to a news item, some of the settings in the character Hishura Tori's home contained imported Chinese carved wood furniture. The courtroom judge was former New York Appellate Court Judge Arthur H. Williams. In Feb 1916, members of the Japanese Association of Southern California filed a protest against the showing of this film with the Los Angeles City Council.
       This film was re-issued by Paramount on 24 Nov 1918, at which time the character played by Sessue Hayakawa was called Burmese and renamed Haka Arakau. The print viewed was a restoration of the 1918 re-issue, with a new musical score composed by Robert Israel in 1994. The Cheat was remade in America in 1923 starring Pola Negri and in 1931 starring Tallulah Bankhead (see entries). Marcel L'Herbier directed a French remake in 1937 entitled Forfaiture , in which Hayakawa recreated his role. Camille Erlanger wrote an opera based on The Cheat entitled La Forfaiture , which was the first opera to be based on a motion picture scenario. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
MPN   25 Dec 15   p. 127.
MPW   20 Nov 15   p. 1479.
MPW   18 Dec 15   p. 2206, 2260.
MPW   25 Dec 15   p. 2384.
MPW   9 Nov 18   p. 691.
MPW   30 Nov 18   pp. 990-91.
NYDM   25 Dec 15   p. 40.
New York Times   13 Dec 15   p. 13.
Variety   17 Dec 15   p. 18.

Display Movie Summary
The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
Advanced Search
Support our efforts to preserve hisotory of film
Help AFI Preserve Film History

© 2017 American Film Institute.
All rights reserved.
Terms of use.