The Dumb Girl of Portici is based on an Auber & Scribe opera, but obviously as a silent film the music isn't there to help it out. It is filmed mostly in long shots and is a long, long, long movie to watch. Pavlova's graceful movements keeps her going from one end of the frame to the other, but she is acting, not dancing. The camera is placed so far away from Pavlova that it is difficult to evaluate the quality of her performance in the title role. The sets and scenery, however, are truly impressive, though the preservation print that survives on this title is a bit dark and grainy. What is most amazing about The Dumb Girl of Portici is that director/writer Lois Weber was able to command such expensive resources to get this made, as it is both conceived and executed on an epic scale. You go girl!
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