Movie 16min

The Priest's Burden (1911)

Not rated.

Director Theo Frenkel
Country United Kingdom
Language English
(Alternative) The Priest's Burden or, the Secrets of the Confessional
Burden Confession Drama Lost Film Murder Priest Roman Catholic Short Silent Film Vow

A STRONGLY dramatic situation arising from the well-known rule of the Roman Catholic Church that the secrets of the confessional, whatever their nature, are inviolate, is worked out in this subject with remarkable vividness and force. A Count who murders his rival for the hand of a lady confesses to the priest, who is a brother of themurdered man, and who is powerless because of his vows to prevent thelady from marrying a man whom he knows to be a murderer. The villain, however, boasts of his crime to the priest when walking with him, and this mention of the crime outside the confessional unseals the priest's lips. He lenounces the murderer who reaps his just deserts.

Source: Kinemacolor Film Catalogue 1912-1913

Synopsis - 12 Scenes
The Priest and His Brother
Jacques takes leave of his mother and brother, a priest, to visit his sweetheart Joan. He is seen riding through a country lane amid very pretty scenery.
The Two Lovers.
Joan at a garden party is listening to the declaration of love of Count d'Orsay. She rejects his suit. The setting of this scene is very fine, the flower-beds and trees being del1ghtfully reproduced.
Arrival of Jacques.
The Count retires annoyed. Jacques is accepted by the girl. This episode is very naturally presented.
Going to the House
the parents are informed and the father gives his consent to the betrothal. Jacques departs amid general congratulations, his disappointed rival being the only exception.
Full of Hate,
the Count intercepts Jacques on his way borne, and delivers him a murderous blow. The victim falls from his horse and lies dead on the ground.
The Riderless Horse
returns to the cottage seen in the first scene of the film. The priest mounts it to try and discover what has happened to his brother. Ultimately he finds the body and sorrowfully bears it homeward.
The Confessional,
A few days afterwards the murderer goes to confessional and relates the story of his crime to the priest, who happens to be the brother of the victim. This is a powerful and strongly acted scene.
The Villain's Courtship.
Later on Count d'Orsay, unashamed, is again paying attentions to the sweetheart of the man he has murdered. The priest coming upon him upbraids him and separates the two, telling the girl the man is unworthy of her.
The Two Men Leave
in company, and passing over a desolate spot the Count boasts "This is the veryplace where I killed your brother!"
The Criminal's Undoing.
This statement is the criminal's undoing. Having confessed his crime in public, not under the protection of the confessional, the priest's vow of secrecy does not operate. He denounces the villain to the authorities.
The Count on His Trial.
This is an elaborately staged court scene. The priest is giving his version of the case, when the Count falls dead in the dock, thus passing before a higher tribunal than the one before whom he is already arraigned.
A Close View Portrait
of the priest making a sign of the cross is the concluding section.
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Theo Frenkel - Director