The White Man's Law (1918)

The story is simply that of misplaced confidence, that of deception practiced by a renegade Englishman of attractive personality and high social training upon characters more simple and ... See full summary »


James Young


Marion Fairfax (story), John B. Browne (story) | 1 more credit »


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Cast overview:
Sessue Hayakawa ... John A. Genghis
Florence Vidor ... Maida Verne
Jack Holt ... Sir Harry Falkland
Herbert Standing Herbert Standing ... Sir Robert Hope
Mayme Kelso ... Mrs. Mayhew (as Maym Kelso)
Forrest Seabury Forrest Seabury ... Cpl. Verne
Josef Swickard ... Suliman Ghengis (as Joseph Swickard)
Ernest Joy Ernest Joy ... Sir Harry's Father
Charles West Charles West ... The Derelict
Noah Beery ... Dr. Robinson
Frank Deshon Frank Deshon ... Falkland's Valet
Clarissa Selwynne Clarissa Selwynne ... Lady Falkland


The story is simply that of misplaced confidence, that of deception practiced by a renegade Englishman of attractive personality and high social training upon characters more simple and true-hearted. He has left a wife behind him to retrieve lost fortunes and social position in the ivory trade where climatic conditions are such that the place, Sierra Leone, is known as "the white man's grave." This renegade, before starting on an expedition to the unexplored interior, trifles with the affections of Maida Verne, a French Sudanese girl, who has been educated at the mission, and becomes something of a favorite with the English colony. She is engaged to the son of a native king, a young man modernized by an education at Oxford, but still retaining the best of native ideals. He is almost unnaturally magnanimous in stepping aside when he believes that Maida is to wed the Englishman, but he discovers that the latter has a wife living while the two are on the expedition returning from a ... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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Release Date:

6 May 1918 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Unforgivable Sin See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


A print is preserved in the Gosfilmofond Russian State, Moscow. See more »

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User Reviews

A combined air of realism and romance
15 November 2015 | by deickemeyerSee all my reviews

Strange selection that of a town and wild country on the northwest coast of Africa for the location of a drama, yet it is far from an uninteresting one in the capable hands of James Young. His treatment is so artistic that it gives the entire piece a combined air of realism and romance, realism in its convincing thoroughness of detail, and romantic in its impressively picturesque interiors and bits of scenery both suggestive and inspiring. This treatment stamps all that is strong in the drama upon memory, and aids materially in making Mr. Hayakawa's fine acting impressive. There is also a fine cast, the notable support being that of Florence Vidor. There would be no objection to the dark mood of this story if it had direct significance, but that of its title and of its purpose is that good women are so rare in such places that the few who exist must be protected. That is a good motive in all times and places, and, as such, it deserves commendation, but its remote application seriously lessens the effect intended. As an offset the treatment leaves nothing to be desired. - The Moving Picture World, May 4, 1918

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