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Suspense (1913 film)

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Screenplay  Lois Weber
Language  Silent
7.2/10 IMDb

Genre  Short, Drama, Thriller
Country  United States
Suspense (1913 film) movie poster

Director  Phillips Smalley Lois Weber
Writer  Lois Weber (scenario)
Release date  July 6, 1913 (1913-07-06)
Directors  Lois Weber, Phillips Smalley
Cast  Lois Weber (The wife), Val Paul (The husband), Douglas Gerrard (The pursuer), Sam Kaufman (The tramp), Lon Chaney (A hobo)
Genres  Thriller, Short Film, Drama film
Similar movies  Feast, IMAX 3D Deep Sea, Paperman, Presto, Space Station 3D, Wild Ocean

Suspense 1913 music 2013 by luna pearl woolf for matt haimovitz uccello mcgill perc ens

Suspense is a 1913 American silent short film thriller directed by Phillips Smalley and Lois Weber. Weber also wrote the scenario, and stars in the film with Valentine Paul. The film features early examples of a split screen shot and a car chase.


The Internet Movie Database lists Lon Chaney as having an unconfirmed and uncredited brief role, however this is disputed.

A print of the film is preserved at the film archive of the British Film Institute.

Suspense 1913 lois weber america s 1st female filmmaker


  • Lois Weber as The Wife
  • Valentine Paul as The Husband
  • Douglas Gerrard as The Pursuer
  • Sam Kaufman as The Tramp
  • Lon Chaney as A Hobo (uncredited/unconfirmed)
  • Plot

    A servant leaves a new mother with only a written letter of notice, placing her key under the doormat as she leaves. Her exit attracts the attention of a tramp to the house. The husband has previously phoned that he is working late, the wife decides not to ring back when she finds the note, but does ring back when she sees the tramp. Her husband listens horrified as she documents the break in, then the tramp cuts the line. The husband steals a car and is immediately pursued by the car's owner & the police, who nearly but not quite manage to jump into the stolen car during a high-speed chase. The husband manages to gain a lead over the police but then accidentally strikes a man smoking in the road, and checks that he is OK. Meanwhile the tramp is breaking into the room where the wife has locked herself and her baby, violently thrusting himself through the wood door, carrying a large knife.

    Lon Chaney connection

    The film has been asserted as Lon Chaney's earliest extant film based on a brief scene in which a similar individual appears on camera. Jon C. Mirsalis writes "Some Chaney fans have doubted that it is actually Chaney in the film, but close examination of a high quality 16mm print clearly showed that the Hobo is played by Chaney." The documentary Lon Chaney: A Thousand Faces states that his film debut occurred after his wife's suicide attempt in April 1913 and "his earliest films were made at the first studio to open in Hollywood, Nestor." Though, well-known Chaney scholar, Michael Blake's A Thousand Faces: Lon Chaney's Unique Artistry in Motion Pictures does note that the possibility exists of Chaney performing in a role during a period of unemployment in 1912, but notes that he rejoined the Clarence Kolb and Max Dill's company in San Francisco, California in September 1912. Blake specifically dismisses Chaney's appearance in Suspense in his book, A Thousand Faces: Lon Chaney's Unique Artistry in Motion Pictures.


    Suspense was released on July 6, 1913 by the Rex Motion Picture Company. A print of the film is preserved at the film archive of the British Film Institute.


    Suspense (1913 film) Wikipedia
    Suspense (1913 film) IMDb Suspense (1913 film)