The Fatal Legacy (1913)

On his wedding eve Henry Halleck opens a sealed envelope which has been handed down to each generation, and learns that the family is cursed with a lust for drink. He signs the pledge which... See full summary »


Kenean Buel




Cast overview:
James Vincent ... Henry Halleck
Marguerite Courtot ... Helen Halleck - Henry's Wife
Tom Moore ... Jack Halleck - the Son
Alice Hollister ... Maud Halleck - Jack's Wife
Harry F. Millarde ... Harry Halleck - the Grandson
Anna Q. Nilsson ... Anna Halleck - Harry's Wife
Guy Coombs ... Forbes
Mary Clowes Mary Clowes ... (unconfirmed)


On his wedding eve Henry Halleck opens a sealed envelope which has been handed down to each generation, and learns that the family is cursed with a lust for drink. He signs the pledge which bears the signatures of his fathers. Two years later he is a widower, with a son, Jack. Jack grows to manhood and not possessing the strength of his father, falls into evil ways. Jack pays the penalty for his weakness and Halleck takes the grandson, Harry, into his home. Many years later Harry becomes engaged to Anna, a charming girl of the neighborhood, and on his wedding eve he, too signs the pledge. But Harry has inherited his father's weakness and the old man's heart is broken. Forbes, a young man of the north, visits the old home and falls in love with Anna. Harry succeeds in discrediting his rival in a most cowardly manner and marries the girl. After the ceremony, Harry, made bold by liquor, jokingly confesses to Anna how he has deceived her and she locks herself in her room. The fox hunt is ... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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Drama | Short

User Reviews

A big picture in many ways
18 November 2017 | by deickemeyerSee all my reviews

A two-part special offering and, indeed, a big picture in many ways. It deals with a curse, drink, that has fastened itself on a family and pictures for us the devastation it works on three generations. Without sentimentality, it develops its theme in a sternly tragic way, the only way possible. The picture shows us the destruction and the ruins; but doesn't preach a syllable; and it shows these things in an uprightly artistic way, that is, without making any lesser appeal by dragging in the sordid or that which is sensational merely for the sake of sensation. So its effect on the thoughtful spectator is an impression of life at once dignified and tragic to the point of solemnity. If it didn't convince, it could never do this. The picture we think a highly commendable one. Of the staging of the picture, hardly too much can be said. It is set in genteel life, we should judge in Maryland or Virginia, and the rooms, furniture, verandas, lawns, etc., are suggestive and go very well with the story. The players are excellent, but James Vincent, as Henry Halleck, plays a fine, tragic figure that is quite convincing and, as he has drawn the man, full of quiet power. The story is fair; it might have been stronger; for there is too much similarity in the fate of the first two brides and then there are gaps that need filling in, to explain the fall of Jack, of the second generation, for instance. That photography is absolutely perfect in most scenes and is truly good at the worst, as in the fox hunt scenes, which, by the way, are full of quality. - The Moving Picture World, September 27, 1913

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Release Date:

10 September 1913 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Winchester, Virginia, USA

Company Credits

Production Co:

Kalem Company See more »
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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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