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The Ne'er Do Well (1916)

Passed | | Adventure | 20 March 1916 (USA)
Former college football hero Kirk Anthony, to the disappointment of his father, a railroad magnate, refuses to enter the business world. Kirk prefers to coach the university team and ... See full summary »


Colin Campbell


Rex Beach (novel), Lanier Bartlett (scenario)




Cast overview:
Wheeler Oakman ... Kirk Anthony, the Ne're-Do-Well
Kathlyn Williams ... Mrs. Edith Cortlandt, a Diplomat
Harry Lonsdale ... Stephen Cortlandt, Her Husband
Frank Clark Frank Clark ... Darwin K. Anthony, Railroad Magnate
Norma Nichols Norma Nichols ... Chiquita Garavel, A Spanish Maiden
Will Machin Will Machin ... Weller, alias Locke
Jack McDonald Jack McDonald ... Allan Allan, an English Subject
Sidney Smith ... Ramon Alfarez, Commondant of Police
Fred Huntley ... Andres Garavel
Lamar Johnstone ... Runnels
Harry De Vere Harry De Vere ... Detective Williams


Former college football hero Kirk Anthony, to the disappointment of his father, a railroad magnate, refuses to enter the business world. Kirk prefers to coach the university team and carouse, until he is drugged during a drunken victory party and put aboard a steamer bound for Panama by an embezzler who switches clothes with him. During the trip, Mrs. Edith Cortlandt, who has married her diplomat husband for convenience, falls in love with Kirk. In Panama, Kirk and Allan Allan, a Jamaican friend, are arrested when Kirk's efforts to use American firefighting methods cause a riot. After Mrs. Cortlandt's influence gets Kirk out of jail and into a job, he falls in love with Chiquita Garavel, the daughter of a Spanish grandee. When Mrs. Cortlandt warns Kirk not to marry Chiquita, her husband overhears. He insults Kirk in public, and Kirk vows revenge. After Cortlandt commits suicide, and Kirk, who has secretly married Chiquita, is arrested, Mrs. Cortlandt withholds Cortlandt's suicide note... Written by Pamela Short

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A WORTHY SUCCESSOR TO "THE SPOILERS" (original poster-all caps)










Release Date:

20 March 1916 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

New York, USA See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


A copy of the film is held at the Library of Congress. See more »


Version of The Ne'er-Do-Well (1923) See more »

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User Reviews

the Empire strikes back
19 December 2010 | by mjneu59See all my reviews

The main attraction to the rarely (if ever) shown early silent feature is its age. After well more than three quarters of a century, it opens a dusty window to some distant (but still familiar) attitudes, especially regarding Central America, where the dispossessed heir of the film's title ("Kirk Anthony: football coach and man about town") ends up after an unfortunate encounter with a crafty thief. At ten reels the film was extraordinarily long for its day, with most of its running time spent in a complicated romance between our plucky hero and the influential, freethinking wife of a U.S. diplomat. In between the melodramatic plot twists are more than one revealing glimpse of the young American Empire throwing its weight around a typically backward banana republic, reaching a climax of sorts when Kirk is saved from unjust accusations of murder by his billionaire Yankee father, who threatens the country with economic reprisals! All of which helps make it a fascinating if undistinguished relic, with travelogue glimpses of the Panama Canal, still under construction when the film was made.

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