AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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The Unwritten Law: A Thrilling Drama Based on the Thaw White Case
Release Date:   2 Mar 1907
Duration (in feet):   950
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Cast:   Evelyn Nesbit Thaw    

Summary: Lubin summary: Almost everybody has read the Thaw-White Case which for many weeks filled the pages of all the daily papers throughout the country. Our Film depicts in striking scenes the thrilling drama and thus gives a vivid interpretation of the dangers of a great city. The Film contains absolutely nothing objectionable and may be shown in any theatre. THE ARTIST'S STUDIO Mrs. Nesbit enters the artist's studio with her daughter. While there she meets Mr. White who is introduced to the beautiful young Evelyn. Mr. White shows his great interest by inviting Evelyn to visit his studio. PREPARING FOR THE STAGE We see Evelyn in the dancing class so as to acquire grace. Evelyn is introduced to the Stage Manager and joins a theatrical company. Before the hour of instruction is over, Mr. White appears to take Evelyn to a nearby cafe. THE YOUNG MILLIONAIRE Mr. White is sitting with Evelyn at a table in Martins' Cafe drinking champagne. Three young men enter, among those Mr. Thaw, later notices Evelyn pushing aside her glass while Mr. White insists on her drinking. THE FIGHT Thaw angrily arises, goes over to Mr. White's table, and taking the filled glass of Evelyn's, dashes it to the floor. Hot words follow between Mr. White and Mr. Thaw. The latter slaps the face of Mr. White with his glove. Mr. White picks up a chair, and raising it above his head, is about to strike Mr. Thaw, when he is interfered with by the waiter. THE ROOM WITH THE VELVET SWING After having left the cafe, Mr. White brings Evelyn to his studio. Evelyn sits in a velvet swing trying to reach a Japanese umbrella which is placed above the door panel by Mr. White. DRUGGED While Evelyn is swinging, Mr. White goes to the side-board and pouring out some wine, takes a small paper from his vest and puts some drug into the glass. A FIENDISH DEED Mr. White takes the glass of wine over to Evelyn who drinks it, and in a few seconds shows signs of fainting. She lays down upon a coach around which Mr. White places a screen. THE WEDDING Thaw, who has been more and more infatuated with the beautiful model, has asked her for her heart and hand. The marriage takes place in one of the most fashionable churches, witnessed by thousands of curious people. THE THAW' HOME The next scene brings us to the home of Mr. Thaw and his young wife. Everything seems to be love, harmony and happiness. Mr. McClure, a friend of Mr. and Mrs. Thaw, appears and invites the young couple to Madison Square Roof Garden. THE TRAGEDY AT THE ROOF GARDEN Mr. and Mrs. Thaw appear at the Roof Garden together with their mutual friend to enjoy the performance which is plainly seen in the Film. Mr. White enters, seating himself at a table opposite Mr. Thaw. Mr. White tried to send a note to Mrs. Thaw. Wild with rage, Mr. Thaw gets up, walks behind Mr. White, takes a revolver from his pocket and shoots at Mr. White three times. White falls forward dead. Thaw raises both arms and extracts the other cartridges, holding the revolver over his head. Everything is confusion, two policemen take hold of Thaw and take him away. THE TOMBS PRISON Thaw is in jail. He is busy reading and writing letters. His wife enters, a few seconds after his mother enters. Thaw embraces both fondly. When the time of the interview is at an end the jailer enters and sends the heartbroken mother and wife from the jail. ON TRIAL FOR LIFE Thaw is on trial for life. Evelyn is on the witness stand. She tells the story of her life. Her lawyer is seen in argument with the District Attorney while the jury is listening intently. THE UNWRITTEN LAW The case has been ended. The jury deliberates. The foreman arises to give the verdict. The Unwritten Law has freed the prisoner who is fondly embraced by his mother and wife and congratulated by his lawyers and the jury.  

Production Company: S. Lubin  
Distribution Company: S. Lubin  
Country: United States

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Siegmund Lubin 4/3/1907 dd/mm/yyyy H90973

Physical Properties: Si:

Note: Also cited at 800 ft. 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
LCMP   p. 65   p. 65, column 1.
NYC   2 Mar 07   p. 68ta.
Variety   30 Mar 07   tr.
NFAC3      p. 166.
Treasures from the Film Archives      p. 252.

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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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