Married in Name Only

Married in Name Only is a 1917 American silent film written by Ivan Abramson and directed by Edmund Lawrence, starring Gretchen Hartman, Milton Sills, and Marie Shotwell.

Married in Name Only
Gretchen Hartman
Directed byEdmund Lawrence
Written byIvan Abramson
StarringGretchen Hartman, Milton Sills, Marie Shotwell
Distributed byIvan Film Productions
Release date
  • 1917 (1917)
Running time
6 reels
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)


The plot is based on eugenics. Madeline Francis (played by Gretchen Hartman) is just about to marry Robert Worthing (played by Milton Sills) when she learns that there is insanity in his family history (per the report of Worthing's mother, played by Marie Shotwell). Hence they cannot have children lest they surely pass on the madness to their spawn. Madeline begs for the marriage to take place to avoid shame, but she is treated like a sister rather than a bride. Madeline is left to contemplate suicide, but joy returns when Worthing finally learns he was adopted and that they can procreate without fear.[1][2][3]



Like many American films of the time, Married in Name Only was subject to restrictions and cuts by city and state film censorship boards. For example, the Chicago Board of Censors issued an Adults Only permit and cut, in Reel 5, a closeup of a couple embracing passionately in a bedroom.[4]


  1. (11 November 1917). Lyric offers strong play, The Sunday Chronicle (Paterson, New Jersey)
  2. Langman, Larry. American Film Cycles: The Silent Era, pp. 213-14 (1998)
  3. Pernick, Martin S. The Black Stork, p. 135 (1996)
  4. "Official Cut-Outs by the Chicago Board of Censors". Exhibitors Herald. New York City: Exhibitors Herald Company. 6 (24): 31. June 8, 1918.
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