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Soldier's Return, The (1902)


Warning: screenonline full synopses contain 'spoilers' which give away key plot points. Don't read on if you don't want to know the ending!

Extract from James Williamson's catalogue from September 1902:

Scene one shows a portion of a portion of a row of poor cottages - one occupied, another empty. Soldier walks in with his kit bag on his shoulder, tries the door, peeps in the window, looks up to the top window - the cottage is evidently deserted; a woman comes out of the next cottage and says something to him - no doubt with reference to the late occupant, which appears to upset the soldier a good deal; a blacksmith walks up, claims acquaintance, and is warmly greeted; the soldier hands his bag to the woman next door to look after, and walks away.

Next scene shows the outside of workhouse; soldier enters, presents a paper to the gate porter, who looks at it and points out the direction in which he is to go.

The next scene shows the door of the women's ward, the soldier walks in, knocks at the door, which is opened by a nurse who looks at his paper and goes in again, soldier waiting outside: after a short interval an old lady in workhouse garb appears, evidently the mother of the soldier, as they warmly embrace - a pathetic picture, true to life. The soldier indicates that he has come to fetch her home, and motions to her to go and change her clothes; he helps her up the steps, and walks to and from while the old lady is dressing. After a short time she comes out again dressed in her own clothes - the soldier takes her arm and walks away with her; they only get a few steps, however, before they are called back by the other old inmates, who have followed the old lady, to shake hands, congratulate her and wish her good-bye.

Another short scene shows them walking out of the gate.

The last scene shows the outside of the cottage again - but what a change! The windows cleaned, clean curtains up, flowers in the window, a bird in a cage hanging up by the door; the old woman sitting by the door sewing, while her son in his shirt sleeves is planting some flowers in the little slip of garden in front - he stops to light his pipe, and asks if that will do; the old lady nods approval, and he resumes his work. He looks up again and says something to her, and then goes into the cottage and brings out a cup of tea and hands it to his mother; the picture closes just as she is drinking the tea.