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The Courage of Silence (1917)

Bradley, who is happily married and loves his family, is called to London on business. There he meets Mercedes, wife of the Spanish Ambassador. The marriage has been forced upon her, and ... See full summary »





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Cast overview:
Willie Johnson ...
Mildred May ...
Clio Ayres ...
Alice (as Cleo Ayres)
Anders Randolf ...
Spanish Ambassador
Dorothy Conroy ...
French Girl


Bradley, who is happily married and loves his family, is called to London on business. There he meets Mercedes, wife of the Spanish Ambassador. The marriage has been forced upon her, and her husband is cruel. Unaware that Bradley is married, she falls in love with him, and he is also infatuated. His better nature finally prevails, and he returns home and is happy until he receives a photograph from Mercedes. On pretext of business, he again goes back to Mercedes, finds there has been a quarrel, and that the ambassador has struck her. She and Bradley go away together, and while crossing the channel, he inadvertently discloses the fact that he is married. Mercedes unwilling to come between husband and wife, flees to a convent, and Bradley, unable to find her, joins an expedition to the forests of South America. Bradley has written his wife that he is a coward. Her health fails and her father takes her and the children for a trip abroad. The children are attacked by an epidemic of fever,... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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Release Date:

12 February 1917 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Who Shall Cast the First Stone  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Vitagraph's Marriage Vow
16 July 2011 | by See all my reviews

On a business trip to London, happily married Harry Morey (as Bradley) meets alluring Alice Joyce (as Mercedes), the wife of a Spanish ambassador. After discovering Ms. Joyce is being abused (he whips her with a riding crop) by her husband, Mr. Morey decides to take her to America. Believing three's a crowd, and not wanting to break-up a marriage, Joyce runs away to join a convent. Morey's wife leaves for France, with the children. Now, poor Morey is stuck with neither mate. Eventually, fate brings the two women together… This lost film was considered one of the top productions of its day.

Reviews ranged from above average to spectacular. "The New York Times" called it "a photoplay a little above the average when one has overlooked the predominance of coincidence" (29 January 1917). The "Variety" reviewer said, "The story is a little slow in starting, but once underway holds the sustained interest of the audience. The lightings throughout are particularly good and the cast was well selected" (2 February 1917). "The New York Dramatic Mirror" called it, "Unusually powerful because of its intense human interest and owing to the fact that it is acted and directed with more than ordinary skill" (10 February 1917).

In "Moving Picture World" (17 February 1917) Edward Weitzel wrote, "The cast is proficient. Alice Joyce satisfies the eye in the character of the Spanish woman, and although somewhat restrained in her expression of feeling, succeeds in winning sympathy for her belief in her better nature. Harry Morey's personality stands him in good stead as the American. Bradley is a cad at heart, but actor makes one almost forget the fact. Anders Randolf is an imposing figure as the Ambassador, and Robert Gaillard is equal to the requirements of Hammond. Cleo Ayers makes an attractive wife for Bradley."

"Photoplay" (May 1917) called the Vitagraph production, "One of the best plays to come from Brooklyn in months. It is by Milton Nobles, directed by W.P.S. Earle, and it approximates life. It contains neither heroine nor hero, villain nor vamp. It is magnificently acted by Miss Joyce, Harry Morey and Anders Randolf, according to reviewer Julian Johnson, "No woman on the screen looks more like a Spanish lady than Alice Joyce. Her suave, reposeful beauty appears to grow more effective each season. It is a joy to see such men as Morey, who plays Bradley, the truant husband; and Anders Randolph, the Spanish Ambassador."

****** The Courage of Silence (1/28/17) William P.S. Earle ~ Alice Joyce, Harry T. Morey, Anders Randolf, Robert Gaillard

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