The Juggernaut (partially lost drama film; 1915)

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The Juggernaut poster.jpg

Poster for the film.

Status: Partially Lost

The Juggernaut is an American silent drama film, released on April 19th, 1915. The film was produced by Vitagraph Company of America, directed by Ralph W. Ince, and stars Earle Williams and Anita Stewart. The plot of the film revolves around a train disaster, featuring what was described at the time as the "most realistic railroad wreck ever shown".[1]

Plot[edit | edit source]

John Ballard, a then college student, befriends Phillip Harden, who is the son of a railroad owner. Phillip plays poker with a gang, and a fight breaks out, that leads to Red Hogan attempting to kill Phillip. Phillip however, is saved by John, who apparently kills Red Hogan, leading to Phillip to swear to protect John's secret. John meets a women named Viola, who he falls in love with, while Phillip is threatened to be cut off from the family fortune if he does not settle down. Viola's mother forces her to marry Phillip, and dies a year later after giving birth to a daughter named Louise.

Twenty years later, John, now a district attorney, brings a suit against the railroad that Phillip now owns over it's poor maintenance and safety measures, which Phillip has little control over. Phillip blackmails John into silence, while Louise discovers Red Hogan was not killed by John. Phillip, now indicted, goes to trial. At a recess, he contacts Louise, requesting she bring documents. Her car breaks down on the way, and notifies she'll arrive by train. Meanwhile, it's discovered a bridge her train is due to cross is in danger of immediate collapse. John races to catch the train, but the bridge breaks apart, sending the train into the water, resulting in a boiler explosion.[2]

In the original ending shown at the New York premier, Louise is pulled from the wreckage, but is dead. An alternate ending shows her found, but in a coma. She awakens, and John professes his love for her. The Britain ending is similar to the alternate ending, but shortened to show Louise waking up just after being dragged from shore. This ending was filmed after initial filming for the 1915 British release, and is the only surviving ending.[3]

Availability[edit | edit source]

The film was five reels long, but only two have survived mostly intact. The second and fifth reels are nearly complete, and the fourth survives in a fragment, totaling around 31 surviving minutes of film compared to the original 65 minute runtime.[4] The "fifth" reel is sourced from a cut down four reel re-release, and is missing several lines of dialogue as well as a shortened and newly shot ending. The second reel is seemingly nearly intact, save for one scene around a minute long, and varies in quality.[5] Reel four's footage is sourced from the cut down re-release's fourth reel, and only features about three minutes of footage that would've been towards the end of the actual fourth reel.[6] Footage from reel one and reel three are lost entirely.

The film has been reconstructed twice, in 2012 and again in 2017. The 2012 reconstruction runs around 30 minutes, while the later 2017 reconstruction doubles in runtime. Both used title cards and stills to fill in any missing material. The 2017 reconstruction also features two alternate endings, and focused on matching the original New York premier as closely as possible. An alternate cut was also included.[7]

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Videos[edit | edit source]

A preview of the 2017 reconstruction showing several surviving scenes from the film.

Images[edit | edit source]

External Link[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]