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Still image from The Great Discrepancy via Northeast Historic Film.


  • 2747.0003 (Source: oldfilm.org)
  • 1973.308.1 (Source: Rhode Island Historical Society)

Date produced: 1930


Roger Clapp

Production credits:

Country of Production:

United States






450 ft





Sound Notes:



Northeast Historic Film list of titled amateur films


"Amateur stage play directed by Roger Clapp and starring Dorothy Stebbins." Northeast Historic Film.


This film is a part of the Dorothy Stebbins Bowles Collection held by Northeast Historic Film. A copy of the film is also held by the Rhode Island Historical Society.

The film is included in the Woman Behind the Camera project.


  • Massachusetts, United States (Filming)






Dorothy Stebbins Bowles Collection, Northeast Historic Film

Viewing Notes:

" “Infamous Players Present The Great Discrepancy”, “Or Roaming on the Foaming”, “Under the Patronage of”, shot of a woman wearing a cloche sitting in a car. “With a distinguished cast featuring Eddie (Our Hero) Played by Mr. Smith”, Eddie [Watson Smith], smoking a pipe, nods at the camera. “Captain ‘Hi’ Diver played by Mr. Clapp”, quick shot of Diver [Roger Clapp] smoking a pipe. “Pearl Diver the Captain’s Daughter played by Miss Stebbins”, Pearl [Dorothy Stebbins Bowles] reclines on the lawn smiling and laughing. “And Little Nell played by Miss Hill”, shot of Nell on a boat. “And a host of other celebrities directed in the Clappian way by”, Roger Clapp sits backwards on a chair in a director cap shouting through a homemade mega phone. “Passed by the Interstate Commerce Commission”, “Eddie – Our Hero – was of a simple trustful nature. He was kind to animals.” Eddie holding a cat, petting and playing with a cow. “A scion of poor but honest stock of the old school.” Shots of an older woman and an older man. “His Neighbor Silas’ daughter Little Nell was likewise simple and kind to our dumb friends.” Little Nell dancing in the yard. Shot of a donkey, she calls to something off screen and a man comes into frame on all fours, she pets him. Shot of a goat, a horse trotting in the yard. “The silence of a simple Sunday afternoon in Somesville is shattered. Little Nell’s aged father is jealous of his daughter’s honor.” Eddie and his father look at a map in the yard. Nell and her father approach. Nell is crying and her father is waving his cane and yelling. “He aint done right by our Little Nell”, Nell’s father yelling and brandishing cane. “Eddie’s stern and rockbound father decrees the tie that binds”, Eddie’s father takes Eddie’s hand and puts it in Nell’s hand. Shot of a church. Nell is married to Eddie. She cries as they walk away from the church. Shot of Eddie cringing and shot of Nell crying wailing to the camera. “And on that day the mysterious stranger appeared…” A man with a suitcase comes out from behind a bush, “followed by his faithful detective”, “Forced into a loveless match Eddie resolves to join the ranks of missing men and that night…” Eddie on the roof of his house with a suitcase and trunk. Throws down the luggage and goes down the ladder. Carries his things to a small boat and rows away. “But not entirely unobserved”, the stranger and the detective spy on Eddie from a neighboring pier. “And the good ship Esmeralda adds our Eddie to her crew (Eddie is below).” Boat with “J.T. Morse Portsmouth NH” written on it pulls away from the camera. A smaller boat goes down the river. “Sprung from sturdy Quaker seamen Capt. ‘Hi’ Diver of the Esmeralda was known and feared on seven seas-”, “-The toughest salt-shaker of them all”, Diver steering the boat. “A grain of old salt was his unprincipled daughter Pearl”, Pearl on the ship’s deck looking out through binoculars. “Who early on the voyage opened her subtle trap for our guileless Eddie.” Pearl makes eyes at Eddie, Eddie looks out over the side of the deck. “But Eddie toiled at his labor in the stokehold – while on the bridge…” Eddie smoking in front of a furnace. Shot of the captain, shot of the steam stack with no smoke coming out. “Whereat the Captain went below”, Captain goes below, Eddie works hard at the furnace, the Captain comes back up, Black smoke comes out of the smoke stack. Captain smiles. “And of course there were also on board the Esmeralda…” The stranger and the detective spy from a high window. “One night….’mid flashing lightning…” Lightening card flashes on the screen. Shot of chopping waters and large waves off the boat. “The Esmeralda piled herself upon a hitherto uncharted reef.” Shot of land from the water, pan of a desert landscape. “All was immediately Bustle and confusion amid which Pearl and Eddie escape the sinking ship…” Eddie and Pearl run around on the deck of a canted ship. The captain looks about. The stranger and the detective stare from windows on the hull. Eddie and Pearl climb down a rope off the ship. “…and swim to safety on the nearest desert isle” Eddie and Pearl dive off a boat into choppy water. Eddie swims. A boat full of people rowing. “Came the dawn”, shot of a reefed ship with waves crashing over it. Pan of the desert landscape. The captain lays on the beach. Eddie and Pearl find him and wake him up. The captain hugs Pearl. “Hastily from hardy hickory our hero hewed a humble hovel. (Hickory is an excellent wood)” A small shack made of wood and full of straw. “Which the captain in a stupor sent by booze of more than two per cent most dastardly destroyed” The captain lights the house on fire with a torch. A building burns. “Nothing daunted by the absence of visiting firemen, Eddie sets to work once more to wrench from nature’s bosom a new abode.” Eddie carries wood and stones, finds a small tree and uproots it and carries it back. A crane lifts stones. “Although constantly in peril of his life from the booze-besotted captain…” Captain drinks by a rock. Eddie is digging, a bell rings and he sticks the shovel in the ground, places his hat on the shovel, and walks away. The captain stumbles along, sees the hat and sneaks up and hits it with a bottle. When he realizes his mistake the captain throws the bottle down in frustration and falls over. Eddie pops out of a nearby bush and sticks his tongue out at the captain. “…To ultimate triumph” Eddie digs a ditch in front of a big brick seven-story building, the camera pans up the building. “Meanwhile in Somesville an aged mother sorrows for her sailor son now seven years at sea” Eddie’s mom hides her face in a handkerchief. Shot of a grave that says “Our darling Eddie.” “And even on their desert isle ‘twould seem, ‘twould'nt it, that our castaways are not alone.” The stranger and the detective come out from behind a rock. “Pearl spends her daylight hours scanning the sea for succor” Pearl looks out across the water. “But when off duty…” Pearl walks up to Eddie and sits next to him. She rubs his hair and they start to fall back into the grass. The captain comes over and attacks Eddie. They fight. “Captain ‘Hi’ Diver’s last plunge” Pan up a big cliff. Eddie and the captain struggle and Eddie throws the captain off the side, he crashed into the water. “The splash of the sinking sot brings rescue from a passing yacht” A boat comes to shore. “Joe Zilch, the expansive owner of the rescuing craft, was a master of”, “Machiavellian dis-simulation concealed beneath a mask of hypocritical self-abnegation” Zilch sits and a servant brings him a drink. “And in this paragon Pearl finds more fertile soil for her seductive wiles than her simple stoker swain” Pearl and Zilch share a drink and hug on the ship’s deck. Eddie watches and is distraught. “Disillusioned and sick at heart our Eddie turns his back upon the tarnished tinsel of empty”, “dalliance to seek the pure gold of a mother’s love” Eddie walks to his mom sewing in the yard and they hug. “And back in Somesville of course there were…” The stranger and the detective peek out from behind trees, they back into each other and run away. “And what of Little Nell after all these seventeen years?” A car pulls up and Nell comes out of the car sees Eddie and they embrace, she points at a young boy in the yard “Who can this be? Can it be? Yes, dear reader, it is ‘ours’” Nell and Eddie kiss. “And at this juncture the mysterious stranger leaves town, followed as usual…” the stranger comes out from behind a bush and is followed by the detective. He gets into a car and the detective chases behind him and falls in a puddle. “But unobserved by the reunited lovers” Eddie and Nell walk off. “The End”," via Northeast Historic Film.

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