The Petal on the Current

The Petal on the Current is a lost[1] 1919 American drama film directed by Tod Browning.[2]

The Petal on the Current
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Directed byTod Browning
Written byFannie Hurst
Waldemar Young
StarringMary MacLaren
Gertrude Claire
CinematographyWilliam Fildew
Distributed byUniversal Film Manufacturing Company
Release date
  • August 3, 1919 (1919-08-03)
Running time
Six reels
CountryUnited States


Based upon a description in a film magazine,[3] Stella Schump (MacLaren) is a working girl who, on the advice of a friend Cora (Ridgeway), who is attempting to be a matchmaker, attends a party where she is supposed to meet a bashful man. He does not show up, and she has her first drink of beer. This affects her so she becomes dazed, and she leaves for home. A detective comes upon her, and after she repeats bits of conversation she heard at the party, he arrests her for being drunk and for solicitation. A night court convicts her and sentences her to ten days in jail. She writes her mother of her plight, and her mother (Claire) dies from shock upon reading the letter. After she is let out of jail, she loses her job and, after her money runs out, goes to a park and sits on a bench. A bashful man (Anderson), who is disillusioned about women, comes by. She has heard of him, but they have never met. He turns out to be a foreman at a factory, and as they talk they realize they were supposed to have met at the party. They leave together and marry.



  1. The Library of Congress Americant Silent Feature Film Survival Catalog:The Petal on the Current
  2. "Progressive Silent Film List: The Petal on the Current". Silent Era. Retrieved May 5, 2008.
  3. "Special Service Section on Mary MacLaren in 'A Petal on the Current'". Motion Picture News. New York City: Motion Picture News, Inc. 20 (7): 1271–72, 1321. August 9, 1919. Retrieved January 13, 2014.

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