The Gambler and the Devil (1908)

ShortShort | Drama
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In a room of an Irish hostelry a century ago, Barry Kilgowan, a young squire, is seated at a table with several companions, drinking, smoking and playing cards. The game goes on. The golden notes, which are piled before each player, frequently change hands. Of a sudden the door is opened and Terry O'Neill, a friend of Barry, enters hurriedly. He is greeted pleasantly by the men, he nods, goes over to Barry and engages in earnest conversation. Barry seems startled at first, bids his friend wait a moment and after drinks are served the squire sweeps his winnings into his pockets and the winner and his friend depart. At the little parish church a group of peasants are standing about the entrance, gossiping, when a coach draws up and Harry's fiancĂ©e, Moira Kavanagh and her father alight and enter the edifice. The peasants cheer them, look anxiously up and down the street for the groom. Shortly the sound of hoof beats is heard and Barry and O'Neill dash up at breakneck speed and enter the church. A few minutes later the bridal procession emerges, get into the coaches and amid the cheers and congratulations of the guests and peasants, drive off. Two years later. Barry, whose craving for gambling has increased, has now become a confirmed gambler. The house is scantily furnished, but here and there are pictures and bric-a-brac, relics of former better days. At the table the young squire, his face pale and haggard, is playing cards with two other men. They take Barry's last dollar, he follows them to the door, bows them out, then falls in the chair in despair. Moira enters, tries to console him, but to no avail. He goes to the library, begins writing and figuring. Every moment his face becomes darker and more unhappy. Finally he opens the table drawer, takes out a pistol and puts it to his forehead. At that moment there is a puff of smoke from the fireplace and a devil appears. He talks to Barry, gesticulating and smiling in a suave manner; then from his coat pulls a bag and pours out coins and bank notes on the table. The gambler gazes upon the money greedily, attempts to grasp some, whereupon Satan takes out a legal looking document, which he passes to the victim. Barry looks at it in horror, but his greed for money gains control over him and he signs the compact agreeing, in consideration of the wealth loaned, that in a year and a day he will play a game of chance with the evil one, the stake being Barry's wife. The allotted year and a day expires. Barry's home is now elaborately furnished and wealth is evidenced in every quarter. Barry has a haunted look; as the clock chimes the hour of midnight a servant hands the host a note. He takes it, reads the contents and staggers from the room. In the library he finds the devil seated at the table smiling wickedly. Satan takes the dice from his pocket and places them on the table. Barry pleads for release from his agreement, but the devil turns aside. Barry throws, then Satan, and the latter wins. Barry calls his wife, she enters, looks in astonishment at the devil and asks Barry for an explanation. The husband sinks in the chair absolutely helpless. Satan springs toward Moira, but she eludes him, draws a rosary from her dress and holds up a cross before him. The devil covers his eyes with his hands, there is a puff of smoke and he disappears. Moira hands the cross to Barry, who falls on his knees and, with uplifted hands, registers a solemn vow to renounce gambling. Written By Moving Picture World synopsis  Less

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