Won by Losing (1916)

This page is part of a project to index the films produced by Bamforth and Co. Ltd of Holmfirth.



  • Queenie Thomas[2]Polly/Daphne
  • Frank McClellan[3]
  • Hetty Payne[4]


A cleric marries a woman hoping to reform her but she takes to drink and dies.

Trade Journals

The Bioscope (30/Dec/1915):

NEW BRITISH EXCLUSIVE. The Holmfirth Producing Company, Limited, have now completed their second big exclusive, entitled "Won by Losing." This film features that very clever young artist, Miss Queenie Thomas, and gives excellent scope for the display of her versatility. They are now actively engaged on the production of "Paula," the famous novel by Miss Victoria Cross. All inquiries in regard to these films should be made to the Yorkshire Cine Company, Limited, 30, Gerrard Street, W., who have, in addition to this, a very powerful array of new exclusives, produced both in Great Britain, Italy, and Russia.

Kinematograph Weekly (30/Mar/1916):

Admirable British Production


It is always gratifying to see a really good British production, and we spent a pleasant afternoon at the comfortable projection room of the Initial Film Service cinema last week, viewing their three reel British exclusive “Won by Losing.” It is an excellent production in every respect, acted by British actors and actresses, and featuring that admirable film favourite, Queenie Thomas, in a dual role. Photography of the very best description, some fine interior scenes and remarkably convincing acting, make together a pleasing whole, added to which is a plot which, if not strikingly original, is sufficiently out-of-the ordinary to sustain the interest and hold one's attention from first to last.

A Study in Contrasts.

The picture is a study in contrasts, depicting a man and a woman of vile character, both of whom sink to the lowest depths of degradation, and another couple, of whom one is a clergymen, who are the other extreme and have all the virtues which the first two lack. Perhaps the villainies and misdemeanours of the one woman are the more accentuated by the innocence and purity of the other. With the two men it is the same. The one a heartless libertine, selfish to the core and without a single scruple of honesty or decency; the other an upright, honourable man, with great strength and nobility of character, and a tolerance for the weakness and frailty of human nature, form a similar contrast. As it should be, good triumphs over evil and the reward is not lacking.

Fine Acting.

There is an excellent cast, the all round acting being on a high plane. The chief honours, however, fall to Queenie Thomas who undertakes the somewhat difficult feat of being heroine and villainess, in the same picture. The two characters, so much at variance with one another, call for a many-sided talent, but Miss Thomas is equal to the occasion, and whether is the intemperate, highly strung woman, or the young innocent girl she is equally good and gives us some fine acting. She has a naturalness and charm of manner which draw one’s sympathy, and her acting is never forced. Anther portrayal worthy of note is that of Frank McClellan. As the clergyman who, from a mistaken sense of duty, marries a girl of no account, hoping ultimately to elevate her to a higher standard of morals, he is great. His endeavour to succeed in this, and his failure and final happiness are vividly portrayed.

Some Excellent Scenes.

There are some fine settings, nearly all interior, and one or two scenes are remarkably realistic. Perhaps the scene which lingers longest in the memory is that in which Polly, after leaving her husband, goes to a dance-hall and is at once made the centre of a frivolous crowd. She is seen standing on a pedestal doing a kind of classical dance, which everyone is highly applauding, then there is a knock and the unusual sight of a clergyman is seen outlined in the doorway. He has come to once more try and save the woman who is still his wife in name. He takes her in his arms and carries her cut. When they arrive home she comes face to face with, what in her half-intoxicated condition, she believes to be her ghost but who is in reality her unknown cousin and the woman whom her husband secretly loves. The last scene of all is also worthy of note. Polly ends her life, misspent through drink and passion, and Daphne, her cousin, is divorced from her husband, whom she never really loved. Far away from the turmoil of the town, on the moor clothed in a mantle of pure white snow, the clergyman meets the woman he loves, and the horrors of the past are forgotten as they slowly wend their way over the snow clad regions and look forward to a future of love and happiness.

This last scene, which is practically the only exterior, is really beautiful and one could have wished for more like it. The picture, though not highly sensational, is one which would suit all classes of patrons. Exhibitors are advised to make a note of it.


Notes and References

  1. According to trade journal advertisements.
  2. According to The Bioscope (30/Dec/1915) page 1415.
  3. According to the BFI Database.
  4. According to The Bioscope (20/Apr/1916) page 339.