AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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The Undertow
Alternate Title: Esther of the People
Director: Frank Thorne (Dir)
Release Date:   23 Oct 1916
Duration (in reels):   5
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Cast:   Franklin Ritchie (James King)  
    Helene Rosson (Esther)  
    Eugenie Forde (Mrs. King)  
    Orral Humphrey (Hammond)  
    Harry Von Meter (John Morden)  
    George Ahern (David Strong)  
    Ogden Childe    

Summary: James King, the once poor owner of a hat factory, is married to a shiftless, unpleasant woman, whom he detests. One of his factory foremen, Hammond, is hated by the employees because of his cruelty, while another foreman, Morden, is universally liked. Morden adopts a protégé, David Strong, and takes Esther, his brother's daughter, into his household upon her father's death. She adapts well to her reduced circumstances and to factory labor. The moment King spots her in the factory, he falls in love with her, but Hammond has designs on her himself and intercepts a letter she has written to King describing labor problems. Hammond plans to set fire to the factory, but Esther learns of the plan and warns King. Alerted, King saves the factory, overcomes Hammond, and reinstates the employees whom Hammond fired. Freed by the timely death of his wife, he then announces that Esther will become his bride. 

Production Company: American Film Co.  
Distribution Company: Mutual Film Corp.; Mutual Masterpictures De Luxe Edition  
Director: Frank Thorne (Dir)
Country: United States

Physical Properties: b&w:
  Si:

 
Genre: Drama
Sub-Genre: Social
 
Subjects (Major): Employer-employee relations
  Foremen
  Factory management
  Factory workers
  Industrialists
 
Subjects (Minor): Arson
  Letters
  Wards and guardians

Note: One review credits Rea Berger as director. Two other films called The Undertow are unrelated to this picture: a two reel Thanhouser release of 1915 and a three reel Essanay production from 1915. This film's working title was Esther of the People

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Motog   4 Nov 16   p. 1041.
MPW   28 Oct 16   p. 604.
  17 Feb 17   p. 26.

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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.
 
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