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From: Alpha Video

Silent Classics Double Feature: The Open Switch/Mistaken Orders (Silent) (DVD)

DVD (UPC: 089218795595)

Available Formats:
Helen Holmes, Jack Perrin
  • Silent
  • 103 min
Price: $8.98
In Stock


The daughter of a railroad engineer, Helen Holmes (1893-1950) became an actress after her friend, famed comedienne Mabel Normand, invited her out to Hollywood. Her good looks quickly made her one of the biggest names at Kalem Studios. It was there she met her husband, Australian director J.P. McGowan. The couple used Helen's railroad background in creating The Hazards of Helen, a series of shorts in which she played a plucky heroine who usually ended up leaping off trains. The young woman's willingness to do her own stunts thrilled critics and audiences alike. Flush with success, Holmes and McGowan quit Kalem in late 1915 to form their own production company. For the next ten years, the couple regularly made adventure pictures similar to The Hazards of Helen, but now at feature length. After their divorce in 1925, Helen retired from acting, becoming a trainer for Hollywood stunt dogs. Holmes's features today are notable for their rarity and are much sought after by true film historians.

MISTAKEN ORDERS: Helen is the dutiful daughter of General Barton, the vice-president of the C & E Railroad. Her brother, Vincent, is more interested in partying all night in jazz clubs. In an effort to straighten him out, the General forces Vincent to work as an operator at one of his train stations. Soon the young man is brawling with his co-workers, and because of this he misses an important switching order that will keep passenger and freight trains from colliding. Now Helen must race to the rescue to save innocent lives...and keep her brother out of jail!

THE OPEN SWITCH: A package containing secret government plans has mysteriously disappeared from the Overland Limited. Railroad superintendent George Waters could lose his job because of the robbery. His daring daughter, Helen, sets out to solve the mystery. Disguising herself as a railway worker, she meets dashing special investigator Daniel Lonergan, who is also hunting for the missing documents. A romance blossoms between the two, but little does Helen realize that Lonergan is secretly the one responsible for the plans' disappearance...


  • UPC: 089218795595
  • Release: 2022-11-09
  • Content Provider: Alpha Video
  • Runtime: 103
  • Genre: Silent
  • Language:
  • Format:
  • Screen:
  • Aspect:
  • Rating: NR
  • Audio:
  • Color/BW: Black & White
  • Special Features:
  • Copyright:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Disc Format: DVD

Cast and Crew


Helen Holmes
Jack Perrin

Directed by:

J.P. McGowan