If you like melodrama, you will like this movie. If not, it will be a complete waste of time and will give you a bad impression of silent movies.
Ann Hunniwell (Norma Talmadge) is a secretary who dreams of a wealthy lifestyle. She yearns to go to the opera to see Madam Butterfly, and when Frank Devereaux (Lew Cody) asks her to go with him, she hesitantly but enthusiastically accepts. His intentions are hardly pure, and the two end up together in a questionable nightclub. Years later, Ann is married to Lafe Regan (Charles Richman) and has a stepdaughter (Helen Weir) to take care of. Suddenly, she meets Devereaux again when he visits her husbands. It seems he has been romancing Lafe's best friend and also his daughter. Ann does her best to protect Helen's good name, but finds it difficult to do so because of her own past with Devereaux.
A memorable performance from Talmadge and a silly but suspenseful plot make for enjoyable movie-going, but it is understandable that The Sign on the Door has not been formally released. The Library of Congress print is in good condition, however, and serves as yet another example of an intact Talmadge film that is widely unavailable for viewing. Why? Despite her popularity during the silent era, Talmadge and her films come off as dated today. She is beautiful and adequately subtle, but she is definitely a product of her time.
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