In retrospect, it is rather surprising that so many "social protest" films emanated from the Edison Studios, given the xenophobic, anti-union stance of Thomas A. Edison. The aptly if clumsily titled Suffer Little Children - For Such is the Kingdom of Labor begins as a woman impulsively marries a man she does not love, merely to spite the man she truly cares about. Fifteen years later, the heroine is a haggard housewife and mother, while her husband is a hopeless inebriate. With neither of the adult members of the household able to earn a living, their young son is forced to work at a glass factory. Suffering from overwork and heat prostration, the boy is carried home, where his distraught mother weeps copiously -- not out of love for the boy, but out of concern that his paycheck will not be forthcoming. The mother sends her daughter out into the streets to beg for money, whereupon the kid calls upon the home of a gentleman who, years earlier, had been her mother's sweetheart. The ex-beau does what he can to help the impoverished family, while the husband, haunted by images of his past failures and misdeeds, vows to give up liquor and start looking for a job. The inevitable reconciliation between husband and wife is presided over by the understanding former boyfriend, bringing the story to a happy -- if hardly credible -- conclusion.
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