A young orphan girl, courted by an unpleasant older wealthy man who has a hold over her adoptive mother, falls in love with a young stranger at a party. Odd noises begin to be heard as a ... See full summary »
A young orphan girl, courted by an unpleasant older wealthy man who has a hold over her adoptive mother, falls in love with a young stranger at a party. Odd noises begin to be heard as a group of bootleggers clandestinely try to get away with their hidden loot. One of them is killed and the young man is suspected of being the killer. Written by
Doug Sederberg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
D. W. Griffith made his only venture into the mystery field here, primarily due to the success of the "old dark house" genre, stimulated by Mary Roberts Rinehart's novel, THE CIRCULAR STAIRCASE, which was very successfully filmed and staged (with Avery Hopwood) as THE BAT. The script written by Griffith (as Irene Sinclair) is extremely complicated, and engages the cast in a jointed series of plots revolving for the most part about attempts at discovery of a missing half-million dollars of bootlegger takings, secreted somewhere within a mansion that is replete with secret passages and hidden panels. Griffith gave his mistress, Carol Dempster, the female lead romantically linked with Henry Hull, whose kinetic limberness is difficult to match, although she acts well, and vigorously too, as much of the scenario provides comedic lunacy; Morgan Wallace is particularly engaging as a Dempster suitor. The film is well-edited, and the special effects by Edward Scholl are creative, to say the least; however, Griffith's penchant for adding numerous story lines to his cinematic landscape causes more than a bit of weariness in the viewer as the work pitches constantly among romantic, mystery and comedy themes; as to be expected, the small moments of detail when the talented players are given rein are generally the most satisfying.
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