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Tragic Loss for Silent Cinema

Author: Pamela Short from Canada
24 June 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

"Dead men tell no tales" is the doctrine of pirate Señor Joaquin Santos ( George Von Seyffertitz ) who enlists Squire John Rattray ( Holmes Herbert ) in his plan to ransack the gold shipment from the Lady Jermyn and then destroy the ship and its crew. Because of his love for Santos' daughter Eve ( Catherine Calvert ), Rattray reluctantly agrees to pick up the villains and their loot in his private yacht. Among the unsuspecting passengers aboard the doomed ship is George Cole ( Percy Marmont ), who also falls in love with Eve. At the appointed time, the ship is blown up, and everyone is lost except for Cole, who begins to search for Eve. He discovers them secreted at Rattray's and after several close calls, both he and Eve escape and are reunited at last.

This 1920 pirate/adventure was filmed by the Vitagraph Company of America. Contemporary news stories recorded that the shipwrecking scene was shot under U.S. Navy supervision with twelve cameras on the Hudson River near Riverdale, New York. Some location photography was taken in Bar Harbor, Maine, and the Rattray Hall scenes were taken at the Pembroke House in Oakdale, Long Island, New York. The loss of this historical film is truly a tragedy for early silent cinema.

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