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Touch of Nature, A (1911)


Main image of Touch of Nature, A (1911)
35mm, black and white, silent, 400 feet
DirectorBert Haldane
Production CompanyHepworth Manufacturing Company

Cast: Hay Plumb (Frank Hardy); Madge Campbell (Mrs Hardy)

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Unemployed and with a wife and daughter to support, Frank turns for help to the wealthy father who disowned him. When his plea is rejected, a desperate Frank turns to robbery.

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This film can be seen in conjunction with the same year's A Burglar for One Night, raising as it does the problem of unemployment in the context of a crime drama. In this film, Frank, with a wife and child, has no work and is desperate. His kind-heartedness costs him the chance of a job, when he helps a blind man across the road and is too late to take up the electrical job where the foreman has already turned away other men looking for work. Like the protagonist of A Burglar for One Night, Frank is driven to commit a crime - stealing from his estranged father.

Whether this film is a conscious attempt to raise a social issue or to give a crime drama an added dimension is open to debate. However its director, Bert Haldane, does seem to have penchant for such social issues in films. Not only did he also direct A Burglar for One Night, but even his romantic films have an element of social comment: The Lieutenant's Bride (1912) sees a lieutenant saving a sacked seamstress from the streets; Bill's Temptation (1912) deals with alcoholism; The Test (1913) has a policeman spitefully exposing an ex-convict at his new work place, while in As a Man Sows: or, an Angel of the Slums (1914) a slum landlord is reformed.

Simon Baker

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Video Clips
Complete film (14:14)
Burglar for One Night, A (1911)
Haldane, Bert (c. 1871-1937)
A Year in Film: 1911