A wealthy society matron is enchanted by a world-renowned opera singer. Her jealous boyfriend, seeing his meal ticket slipping away, hypnotizes the singer and renders him mute. His ploy ... See full summary »

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(as Frank H. Crane)

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Cast

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Marguerite Lawson
George Majeroni ...
Dr. Von Gahl (as Giorgio Majeroni)
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Belle Borden
Bertram Marburgh ...
Dick Leslie
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Storyline

A wealthy society matron is enchanted by a world-renowned opera singer. Her jealous boyfriend, seeing his meal ticket slipping away, hypnotizes the singer and renders him mute. His ploy works, and the singer, now unemployable, soon runs out of money and is reduced to utter poverty. However, a figure from his past is in a position to help him regain his former fame and fortune Written by frankfob2@yahoo.com

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filmmaking | film in film | See All (2) »

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Drama | Romance

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Release Date:

9 August 1915 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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In this silent movie, it's moot if he's mute.
9 December 2007 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

I saw this remarkable melodrama in October 2007 at the Cinema Muto festival in Pordenone, Italy; they screened a print restored by Eastman House with the assistance of the Library of Congress. The 35mm print (struck from a 28mm diacetate) replicated the original Desmet colour tinting.

Character actor Robert Warwick had a very long film and television career; although he was an American, he was often cast as an upper-class Englishman because of his precise diction and modulated voice (from his early training on the stage). I'm not aware that he ever sang on screen; in 'The Stolen Voice' he plays an opera singer ... but, as this is a silent movie, we'll have to take it on faith that his singing voice is brilliant.

The American adventuress Belle Borden, who is no better than she should be, is engaged to the Svengali-like Doctor Von Gahl. Gerald D'Orville (Warwick) is an opera star with many female fans. When Belle seduces D'Orville, Von Gahl decides to take revenge ... on D'Orville, not on Belle. A bit of hypnotic hocus-pocus by Von Gahl, and ... hey presto! D'Orville is rendered mute! The film's ending is unexpected, but quite satisfactory.

Unfortunately, there are some bumps in the road before we get there. When D'Orville loses his voice, his singing career is over (fair enough) but this has the rather comical result of reducing him to ragged pauperdom, as if there's no other job that a healthy (though mute) man can obtain. And D'Orville is somehow able to journey to Europe in search of a cure, after he's been established as rendered penniless. D'Orville's friend Dick, depicted as a hopeless drunkard in the early scenes, has somehow sobered up enough to become a wealthy entrepreneur. (What's he been drinking?)

Already a veteran stage actor at this early date, Warwick gives a remarkable performance. Since all the actors are effectively mute in this silent movie, Warwick has a bit of difficulty establishing that his character has been stricken genuinely voiceless in a film where everyone is voiceless anyway ... yet Warwick pulls this off, with little effort. And he skilfully conveys, in the earlier sequences, that he's an opera singer in fine (unheard) voice. Despite a plot that makes 'Trilby' seem post-modern, I'll rate this movie 8 out of 10.


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