Feature Drama | 1920 | Silent | B/W
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Boxing drama set in the Eighteenth Century. A prize fight in the village of Hailsham. Men play bowls. On eyed pub landlord of 'Three Brewers' pub in Wardour Street, London.
The men are on the whole wearing wigs, breeches, tricorn hats and elaborate coats
Begins with fight in Hailsham between Gully and Hen Pearce, the Game Chicken. Two men fighting in ring on the green with their bare fists. Lots of spectators in eighteenth century costume. Hen Pearce's rise had been meteoric. He had won every battle he fought. He sits in the corner with 2 men, then proceeds fighting again. Men at ringside wearing tricorn hats , looks like they're the landed gentry. Tis a glorious thing to see the chicken fight. The fight lasts 1 and a half hours, then in the 58th round. The 2 men in the ring are swaying around, refusing to give in. Gully falls over and one man times his knockout The man declares Hen Pearce wins.
Chicken's wounds are dressed by a girl, Nell. who means the world to him, dressed in mob cap and idealised country girl's 18th century dress.
Cut to the county squire drinking and cronies in his garden playing bowls. One man congratulates another on the good fight your chap did today.
The drunk bloke goes up to another and titles up says Has the Chicken's victory saved another Lady's honour as it did that of the Duchess when he fought Burke, my gallant squire of Dames. This provokes a fight of honour with swords. The men playing bowls stop to watch.
Intertitles Since Jem Belcher had lost an eye playing Rackets he had become landlord of the Three Brewers in Wardour Street and in his absence pretty Nelly Deane presided.
Interior of pub and landlord with eye patch talks to Hen who is drinking there with a mate.
Intertitle: I don't suppose I'll fight again kid - so you'll be the new champion - I'm mighty proud of you!
Cut to sword fight which is getting nasty, the drunk bloke gets stabbed
Intertitle For he had spoken lightly of a woman's name.
Nell and her mother together - Of course I love Jem best mother but though I'm sure he cares for me - I'm afraid he'll never speak on account of his disfigurement.
When I was a girl, child I knew how to make a man confess his love - Ah me.
The 2 embrace and then Nell leaves.
Intertitle: And about this time the recurrence of a troublesome cough had set in - and cold fear gripped Hen Pearce's heart. He could fight earthly foes but a grim Phantom…?
Hen is seen with a doctor There's no doubt that you're consumptive - you must give up fighting. A very sad looking Hen walks away.
The wounded swordsman is seen leaving the pub. He sees Nell and tries to accost her. When she sees his arm bandaged up. Tis nought but a scratch Nelly - but this arm still has strength to perform its duties. Hen comes across her being abused and says he'll not strike an injured man.
Hen and Nell go into the pub and she seems Jem who smells her flowers Hen looks dejected.
Meanwhile Mr Squire bastard is telling all his chums about something. Cut to man seen talking to the publican Jem. I'd stake a £1,000 to £1 that Nelly's only waiting to be asked.
The rich men want to organise a fight between Jem and Hen. The squire bets on Jem - 500 to 1 in guineas.
10.27 End of Part 1
A purse of £500 is agreed for this intended fight.
Scene in pub where the rich men tell Jem that it will be a private affair to be held at Molesey Hurst but Clem's not up to it fighting the lad he taught. Hen too is against the fight because Jem's handicapped.
Rich man says the Duke of Clarence is for it - you'll not disappoint such a royal patron. So the great fight is to go ahead and Nell looks a bit worried. Hen thinks he can manage the fight as his cough has not returned.
On the morning of the fight Pearce looks for Nell - he sees her and tells her that this is not of their choosing. He then says he loves her and asks her to marry him.
She says she's sorry but she loves another. So he goes off to the fight with less desire than before.
The ring is set up and Game Chicken looking very miserable climbs over the ropes. The audience is just the rich men and then cut to Chicken coughing rather badly. The 2 friends meet and fight in the ring. After 9 rounds Jem looks defeated but then he knocks Chicken to the floor. Cut to tearful Nell.
After 18 rounds Chicken has him beat but he can't deal the final blow and says it's his last fight. Clem gives in. Game Chicken wins but his coughing comes back.
Months go by and nothing is heard from the champion - then a note is sent to the publican and Nelly to come quickly.
A girl is helping Chicken who's in bed when Nell and Jem come in - he asks Jem to take care of Nell. A last request Nell - kiss me which she does.
Clem's still not sure about marriage and whether Nell will accept him. They're wrapped round each other under some trees and he finally asks her- woo hoo!
20'42 The End
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