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Anna Q. Nilsson,
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Cecil B. DeMille
Charles de Rochefort,
Edith Hardy uses charity funds for Wall Street investments in hopes of buying some new gowns. She loses all the money and borrows from wealthy oriental Tori. When her husband gives her the amount she borrowed, Tori won't take it back, branding her shoulder with a Japanese sign of his ownership. She shoots him. Her husband takes the blame. In court Edith reveals all to an angry mob. Written by
Ed Stephan <email@example.com>
THE CHEAT is interesting only from the standpoint that it's an early silent film from Cecil B. DeMille and the fact that the most realistic performance is given by Japanese actor SESSUE HAYAKAWA, famous now for his work in films like THE BRIDGE ON THE RIVER KWAI.
Even at a young age, he could give glowering glances like no other, saying more with his facial expressions than any dialog could convey. The rest of the cast indulges in broad, silent screen style of acting that sometimes borders on the ludicrous, but Hayakawa is restrained in technique and yet powerful.
The story is the old chestnut about a wife who is forced to cheat on her husband and then--to save herself from a fate worse than death-- she's forced to shoot the man who humiliates her by branding her as his property. She saves her virtue but her adoring husband takes the blame for her crime, which leads toward an explosive courtroom climax where Cecil B. DeMille lets his overabundance of energy show itself in a rowdy, overpopulated courtroom where the frenzied crowd reacts to her sobbing confession.
Fans of silent films will probably relish this one--but others have to beware. As for the fashions of 1915, they have to be the ugliest clothes women ever wore in an effort to look elegant. You have to see the film to know what I mean.
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