Cast & Crew
Sir Guy Standing
In the 1890s, Clay, the son of Southerner Mrs. Helen Thorne, courts Nancy Brookfield, whose father Jack plays host to gamblers in his home in Philadelphia. The night Clay proposes to Nancy, the police plan to raid Jack's home, but Jack gets a sudden premonition and sends the gamblers home. Judge Martin Prentice, an old friend of Helen who once was in love with her mother, Margaret Price, visits Jack in order to buy a Corot painting from him, and they discuss the dangerous power of Jack's telepathic abilities. Jack's next visitor is Frank Hardmuth, a political grafter who wants control of Jack's gambling ring as well as his daughter. Jack threatens to kill Hardmuth and kicks him out. During the poker game, Jack acquired gambler Lew Ellinger's cat's eye ring, of which Clay is deathly afraid. When Jack inadvertently hypnotizes Clay in order to alleviate his fear of the ring, he transfers his murderous thought to Clay. The next morning when Clay stares into the ring, Jack's desire to see Hardmuth dead rises from Clay's subconscious and he kills him, then wakes out of the hypnotic trance to find himself accused of murder. When no reputable lawyer will take the case, Helen appeals to Martin, who is retired. Martin kindly declines until the ghost of Margaret Price appeals to him. In court, the jury laughs at Martin's claim that Clay committed murder via thought transference, until Jack convinces the foreman of the jury, through hypnosis, to shoot the prosecuting attorney with a gun filled with blanks. As the jury acquits Clay, Martin asks the ghost of Margaret if he might return to his fireplace and slippers.
Sir Guy Standing
Arthur Stuart Hull
Motion Picture Herald and New York Times call Ferdinand Gottschalk's character "Dr. Meiklejohn," although he is called "Dr. von Strohn" in the film and in the film credits. The title card on the viewed print read "Augustus Thomas' The Witching Hour." Thomas' play, which was one of ten picked by Broadway drama critic Burns Mantle as best of the decade, was the source for the 1916 Frohman Amusement Corp. film of the same title, directed by George Irving and starring C. Aubrey Smith and Marie Shotwell (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1911-20; F1.5030) and the 1921 Famous Players-Lasky film of the same name, directed by William D. Taylor and starring Elliott Dexter and Winter Hall (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.6428).