Better Times (film)

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Better Times
Better Times (1919) - Ad 1.jpg
Ad for film
Directed by King Vidor
Written by King Vidor
Starring ZaSu Pitts
Cinematography William Thornley
Distributed by Robertson-Cole
Release date
  • July 13, 1919 (1919-07-13)
Country United States
Language Silent (English intertitles)
David Butler and Zasu Pitts look lovingly at each other while Jack McDonald glares in a still from the film

Better Times is a 1919 American silent drama film directed by King Vidor.[1] It is not known whether the film currently survives,[1] which suggests that it is a lost film.


As described in a film magazine,[2] the plot of the film is as follows. A western Pennsylvania town has two hotels that have seen better days. Nancy Scroggs (Pitts) is the neglected daughter of Ezra Scroggs (McDonald), who is the chief reason no one visits his hotel, the Lakeview. A gambler and procrastinator, he has succeeded in diverting trade from himself to Si Whittaker (De Vaull), proprietor of the Majestic.

Nancy, finally spurred into action by lines printed on a calendar, takes an ancient automobile used in the hotel's glory days and takes a stand at the train depot. Her one and only passenger is Spike Macauley, champion pinch hitter for a baseball team, who partly for pity and partly for a lark accompanies the girl. Through Spike's advertisement of the culinary department among the summer boarders of the Majestic, the later's guests are soon transferred to Nancy's care. A sudden telegram causes Spike to leave for the city, which leaves Nancy, who believes he has gone to see his sweetheart, sad.

In the days that follow, tragedy hits when Ezra gambles away his life savings and the hotel and then commits suicide. Nancy, using the insurance money from her father, goes to boarding school. While there she writes pretend love letters to herself from a famous ball player whom she only knows as Peter, make believing to have a sweetheart. This leads to a distressing situation, not anticipated by Nancy, when she is entertained at a box party at a ball game with expectations that she will meet her "lover." However, when she looks and sees that Peter (Butler) and Spike are one and the same, and jumps onto the field with joy.



  1. ^ a b Progressive Silent Film List: Better Times at
  2. ^ MacDonald, Margaret I. (June 21, 1919). "Reviews and Advertising Aids: Better Times". Moving Picture World. New York City: Chalmers Publishing Company. 40 (12): 1821, 1823. Retrieved September 22, 2014. 

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