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The Lure of Drink

A lurid temperance tale warning of the evils of wicked women and the demon drink.

Drama 1915 37 mins Silent


This surprisingly violent piece of temperance propaganda uses shock tactics to hammer its point home. Big-hearted Ned has sworn off booze, enjoying a happy and sober marriage with widowed Peggy. But when Peggy's conniving rival Kate tempts him with a tipple, Ned's 'dormant demon' is unleashed in a dramatic Jekyll-and-Hyde-like transformation.

While the film's pro-temperance agenda is obvious, you may need to look a little closer to spot the WWI subtext. Military recruitment posters adorn most of the pub interiors, inviting the punters to "fall-in". While these are routinely ignored by the idle drunks, the final scene implies that Ned, now a reformed character, goes on to fight for his country. Watch out, too, for the striking street and dock scenes filmed around the west London borough of Ealing; the film was produced at the first generation of Ealing Studios by pioneer William Barker.