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Princess of the Dark (1917)

In a squalid mining town in West Virginia James Herron, a consumptive, has built a shack in the hope that the mountain air may prolong his life. With him dwells his daughter, Fay, whom he ... See full summary »




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Cast overview:
Fay Herron
'Crip' Halloran (as Jack Gilbert)
Gayne Whitman ...
Jack Rockwell (as Alfred Vosburgh)
Walt Whitman ...
James Herron
Crip's Father


In a squalid mining town in West Virginia James Herron, a consumptive, has built a shack in the hope that the mountain air may prolong his life. With him dwells his daughter, Fay, whom he idolizes. Fay, who has been blind from her birth, has a wonderful imagination. Even the town and its sordid inhabitants become invested with romance and take their part in the stories of adventures that her father reads to her. While Fay goes about with security and fearlessness, which causes the ignorant to regard her with almost religious respect, her inner life is in sharp contrast. She has secret haunts, where she hides, and in thought recreates fairyland. Her favorite retreat is a cavern formed by an old abandoned tunnel which she peoples with knights and princesses, gnomes and fairy guardians. The one thing lacking is the Prince. And one day he comes. The "Prince" is a hunchback, "Crip" Halloran, the son of the village drunkard, who stumbles into Fay's imaginary fairyland, and is at once ... Written by Moving Picture World synopsis

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Release Date:

18 February 1917 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

The right way to make a motion-picture impression
6 February 2015 | by (Chicago) – See all my reviews

In a special showing at the Strand Mr. Ince presented a new star performer in Miss Enid Bennett, an Australian beauty and a recent discovery. Miss Bennett has the physical promise. She is a girl of unspoiled sweetness and natural loveliness, and there are many signs that she has intuitive perceptions of what is required for the interpretation of character. A star is, however, both born and made. It is visible to those called upon to critically examine the work of performers, whether or not known to producers, that star performers are more or less evolved under intelligent training at the studios. Many have gone along for years, almost unnoticed, faithful and dependable interpreters of roles assigned to them, taking their share of the minor parts as their particular type and the play requires and have won popular favor by hard and intelligent work. It is a question of time for them to fully grasp the subtleties of screen interpretation. Almost the first tendency shown in a star-to-be is surplus energy and enthusiasm, but Miss Bennett has been too well handled for that natural tendency to obtrude. Then, it is hardly fair to pass judgment on her capabilities from what can be deduced from a single performance. The role of an imaginative blind girl who idealizes a hunchback as her Prince Charming has been shown before, even in a recent release, where the cripple was cured that all might end happily. The play has been done before, but never more consistently. It is a figurative treatment of human illusion about life. Under the guise of a blind girl is blind youth, idealizing the ugly, imagining beauty and charm, only to be disillusioned when sight is given of the true state of things. The Ince story has preserved most consistently the idea that it deals only with material persons and events. Though designed as an exposition of what is purely spiritual, the analogy is not thrust upon the audience; it is felt rather than seen, the right way to make a motion-picture impression. – The Moving Picture World, February 17, 1917

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