19 August 2007 | wes-connors
Robert Harron Gets the Third Degree
Entertaining early film, directed by D.W. Griffith; "Representing the manipulation of the third degree - the fallacy of circumstantial evidence"! Herein, the third degree is issued to young burglar Robert Harron, who protests so loudly "I didn't do it!" you can almost hear him shout.
The set-up is terrific: Weak brother Henry B. Walthall lives with older and stronger Lionel Barrymore. Meanwhile, burglar Harron is goaded by older crook Harry Carey to go out and rob somebody. He will go to rob Barrymore. BUT, before he gets there, a drunken Walthall has had enough of brother Barrymore, and pops him one. When Harron arrives to rob the place, Walthall decides to frame Harron for the murder of his brother. To wit, Walthall leaves Harron locked in the house, and runs for the police.
So, Griffith sets out to prove what he calls, "The fallacy of circumstantial evidence." The film is a lot of fun - especially in the performances of Harron, Walthall, and Barrymore. The Gish sisters have a cameo. Note how Griffith sets up a parallel between the two sets of men. "The Burglar's Dilemma" ends a little too quickly, and gives away too much, but it's still excellent.
******** The Burglar's Dilemma (12/16/12) D.W. Griffith ~ Robert Harron, Henry B. Walthall, Lionel Barrymore