The Man Who Couldn't Beat God (1915)



Martin Henchford was a man of peculiar character.  He believed that he could erase from his soul every vestige of the scar of murder: that he could destroy in his own mind every memory of the deed he had committed.  In short, that he could eat God and the inner consciousness of soul.  He had, years before, grown up on the spacious Rexford estate, and as the son of Lord Rexford's gardener, had become an employee.  Goaded on by the smallness and cruelty of the Lord, and after receiving a stinging blow across the face, he kills him, and so conceals every trace of his deed that he is not even suspected.  Later he goes to New York, where he secures work in the construction gang tunneling under the big river.  He takes a prominent part in a daring rescue during a sudden flooding of the excavation, and as he brings out the last drowning man he does not see in the prostrate form his fellow-laborer, but instead, a vision of the man he had killed back in England.  Thus starts an ever increasing series of visions produced by conscience.  Promotion, honor and wealth become his: he marries a beautiful girl, and still he is haunted more and more by those terrifying visions.  He is drawn almost irresistibly back to England, and there, on the very spot where he had struck Lord Rexford down, Martin is attacked by heart failure and dies.

with Maurice Costello and Charles Eldridge. Directed by Maurice Costello and Robert Gaillard. Vitagraph.

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Last Modified December 14, 2005