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Mrs. Danvers’ Divorce (Yankee)

January 2, 2011

On January 2nd, 1911

Mrs. Danvers’ Divorce, a film produced by the Yankee Film Company (later folded into Universal) is released in U. S. theaters.

Below is the synopsis published in The Moving Picture World 7, no. 1 (7 January, 1911): 44

Danvers was a “good fellow,” in all that term implies, with but one exception; his good-fellowship did not extend to his own home unless he over-reached himself and then his wife was compelled to suffer humiliation through his methods of entertaining friends.

On one occasion he was so intoxicated when his friends called in response to his invitation to dine at the Danvers apartment, they let in disgust after witnessing a disgusting scene between husband and wife in which Danvers upbraided her for not being jovial and entertaining to his guests.

Weston, one of the party, happened to be a one time sweetheart of Mrs. Danvers and he knew too well how keenly she suffered. He naturally longed to leave as quickly as possible to save both she and he the consequences of a further scene.

Then the demon in Danvers exhibited itself. He cursed his wife for “being a baby” and sending away his guests and, as a parting shot, told her he was tired of her “whining,” and was going to leave her for a while to think it over.

The next morning Danvers was as truly repentant as he had been brutal the evening previous. His promises to refrain from drinking were accepted by her with a certain degree of unbelief, for he had made such promises many times before, nevertheless she prayed in her heart, as only a good woman knows how, that this was the turning point in his life. Then she sent him off to the office with a tender kiss and a cheering smile. Meanwhile, Danvers had posted letters of apology to both Weston and Brandon. The latter took occasion to speak lightly of Mrs. Danvers in the former’s presence and Weston ordered Brandon from the studio, whereupon he left vowing vengeance.

Mrs. Danvers returned from a short drive in the afternoon to find Brandon waiting for her in the drawing-room. Without ceremony he calmly told her to leave “that drunkard husband” of hers and fly with him, a real man who loved her madly; astonished and tearful at first, then gaining courage, she denounced him as a coward who would betray a good friend, then called her valet and ordered him shown the door. But Brandon was not to be so easily repulsed. Already he conceived a plan to bring this proud beauty added misery. He felt certain she would not tell her husband of the proposal he had just made. He knew Danvers was jealous of Weston, so he dispatched a message to the unsuspecting broker informing him that his wife and the artist were in the latter’s studio, preparing to elope, and signed the letter “From a friend.” Then he sent a telegram to the wife saying that her husband was dangerously wounded and lying in Weston’s studio, signing this “Danvers”

Mrs. Danvers received her message first and rushed frantically to the first available vehicle with instructions to drive with all speed to the Weston address. Arriving there, breathless and pale with fear and anxiety she fell fainting in the artist’s arms, crying for her husband. Danvers entered a moment later and found Weston’s arm around his wife’s waist and in his other hand a glass of wine, with which he had just succeeded in reviving her. With a cry of rage he cursed them both, refusing in his blind madness to hear a word of explanation from either his astonished wife or Weston. He stormed from the room declaring he would seek a divorce without delay.

Meanwhile, the book in which Mrs. Danvers hurriedly closed up the telegram she received was carelessly tossed on top of the shelf of the family book case, where it slipped off and dropped behind, wedged in between book case and wall. There it laid until some time after Dancers had secured his divorce.

Mrs. Danvers had gone home to her mother heart broken, yet her pride rebelled when she thought of attempting reconciliation with her husband, as he had wronged her deeply, so she did not offer the slightest defense to his charges in court and the judge granted him a decree with a protest from his wife.

Weston manfully refrained from intruding on her feelings until some time later. Then he begged her to marry him and she told him to wait until she was vindicated and her name publicly cleared from the shameful charges her husband had brought.

Danvers sat one night in the solitude of his library, at his home. Longing for his wife had changed his manner living He no longer spent his nights in drinking, in fact his former companions shunned him now and he realized, as never before how much alone in the world he was. Suddenly a picture dropped from the wall and wedged behind the book case. Startled, he rang for the butler and nervously ordered him to replace the portrait.

On moving the book case the butler finds a book concealed behind which he picks up and hands to Danvers previous to adjusting the misplaced picture from the edge of the book Danvers saw a yellow paper protruding and curiously he drew it out. Then be read the message his wife had received on the day he found her in Weston’s studio and he realized what a terrible error had been committed. To rectify the wrong inflicted on all innocent woman was the repentant man’s first thought.

His former wife received him when he called and listened to his wild pleadings for forgiveness with a smile which he interpreted as being one of gladness that he had come. But she was happy to know she was vindicated, that was all, and she coldly told him be must never attempt to see her again. Later on, when Danvers picked up an evening paper and read of Weston’s marriage to the divorced wife of William Danvers, he tried in vain to conjure up one single reason why things should not have turned out as they did. He knew that he alone was to blame.

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