The Million Dollar Mystery (1914) Poster

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" Early Publicity Gimmicks "
PamelaShort14 December 2013
Warning: Spoilers
The Thanhouser Company ( later the Thanhouser Film Corporation ) was one of the first motion picture studios, founded in 1909 by Edwin Thanhouser. Although it only operated until 1918, it produced over 1,000 films, one of their hugest successes was The Million Dollar Mystery. It was a twenty three chapter film serial starring Florence La Badie, Marguerite Snow along with many actors and actresses of silent film including the Fairbanks twins. Florence La Badie was praised for her performance and no stunt professional was engaged for her, as the actress performed all her own stunts. The serial's story follows a secret society called "The Black Hundred" as they go on an arduous journey in an attempt to obtain a lost one million dollars. Audience's of the time were intrigued by a clever publicity gimmick, the film was released with the last chapter unwritten. A prize of $10.000 was offered for the best suggestion ( advertised as "$10.000 for 100 words"). In a further publicity stunt, the character Florence Hargreaves was actually reported missing. Details of the plot were fed to newspapers and the police as if they were real events. It took seven days before this trick was exposed as fiction. The serial was highly successful and a sequel was made, however it was not the huge triumphant as its predecessor had been. I wish I could give the reader a comprehensive synopsis of this film, but sadly as with a lot of lost silents films, a synopsis is very hard to find and to a very great degree they just don't exist.
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