The Witch

The Witch is a lost 1916 American silent drama film directed by Frank Powell, produced by Fox Film Corporation, and starring Nance O'Neil, Alfred Hickman, and Frank Russell. Based on the 1903 play La Sorcière (The Sorceress) by French dramatist Victorien Sardou, this adaptation portrayed the challenges facing a young woman living in a territory in Mexico wracked by military and social unrest. It was filmed at Fox's studio in Fort Lee, New Jersey, where a Mexican village was constructed on the company's backlot and used as the principal set for outdoor scenes.


With its storyline set in early twentieth-century Mexico, this lost film portrayed the plight of Zora Fernandez (Nance O'Neil), a beautiful and exotic woman who becomes entangled in a love affair and is persecuted by local officials following an armed uprising. Her father, Dr. Fernandez (Frank Russell), is a physician and also a general who leads an insurrection against General Mendoza (Alfred Hickman), the military governor of the surrounding territory. The doctor and his forces are defeated, and he dies in battle. The victorious Mendoza now resents Zora for her past indifference to his romantic advances and suspects she may try to oppose his authority as well. The governor is concerned too about Zora's reputation as a sorceress, most notably for her abilities to cast spells and concoct miraculous potions. In reality, her father, as a medical doctor, had taught her hypnosis and how to treat various illnesses. Those abilities, however, are viewed by most of the residents in her village as supernatural and forms of witchcraft.