The Bioscope (25/Nov/1915) - White Star
In spite of the convention that doth hedge the racing drama of the stage and screen, the author of this very praiseworthy film has succeeded in introducing many original “turns” to a story which in essential details is as familiar as it is ever-welcome to the average audience. He has provided us with a well-balanced and agreeable tale, very well played by a lengthy cast, and if at times his imagination carries him a little beyond the bounds of probability, such trifles are the more easily pardoned, inasmuch as taken as a whole “White Star” is a really interesting and exciting sporting drama.
Wilson Harley, prominent in theatrical and sporting circles, is in grave financial difficulties, and has mortgaged his theatre to Julian Marks, a financier. In order to retrieve his fortunes he enters White Star for the City and Metropolitan race, and backs it for a very large sum. His trainer, Ballard, has great faith in the horse and his belief is shared by Iris his daughter, and Harley’s leading lady at the Majestic Theatre. She is engaged to Lord Hawksell, who speedily incurs the enmity of Frank Marks, the financier’s only son, and both men determine to do all in their power to prevent White Star from winning. Unable to “dope” the horse, although they succeed in getting his jockey, Jack Higgs, into trouble, the younger Marks, hits on a brilliant idea — they will destroy the horse by bombing him from an aeroplane. The plan is overheard by a tramp, who informs Iris and her father, and, acting on the girl’s advice, White Star is put back in the stable, and an elderly mare, touched up with a white stocking, is sent out to exercise in place. From the aeroplane, Marks drops the bombs, and succeeds in injuring the animal which from that height he believes to be the favourite. Lord Hawksell follows the machine in his car, and when it descends has a fierce fight with Marks, who eventually stuns him and makes his escape. The day of the race arrives, and the Marks — father and son — hypocritically express their regret that White Star cannot run, and are disconcerted when Iris informs them that he will do so, and win. At the last moment Ballard learns that the horse’s jockey is injured. There is only one boy left — Jack Higgs — and hurriedly, Hawksell sets off in his car. The boy hastily changes and seeing him riding from the paddock, the younger Marks fires at him. Although wounded Higgs insists on riding, Marks is captured by the police, and after an exciting race White Star wins by four lengths.
Although frankly improbable, the story is well constructed, and packed full of excitement. The racecourse scenes are excellently managed, and interest in the race is skilfully kept at the highest possible pitch. As a good sound drama of its class. “White Star” can be recommended.
(Bamforth film. Yorkshire Cine Company, Limited. Three reels.)