A gang of blackmailers sends a cripple to San Francisco to expose a banker they have been blackmailing. However, the cripple meets and falls in love with the banker's daughter.



, (story "Pit of the Golden Dragon")

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Cast overview:
William Welsh ...
Henry A. Barrows ...
John Cooper, Sr. (as Henry Barrows)
Ann Cardington
Harry De Vere ...
Olaf Wismer (as Harry Devere)
John Beck ...


Mysterious, sinister Wilse Dilling receives a coded message to go to the home of Queen Ann, a powerful crime boss. When Wilse meets with her, she sends him to the town of Fallbrook, where he is to await her instructions. Being practically wheelchair-bound has not stopped Dilling from committing a lengthy series of crimes, but to his surprise, he finds that the small town atmosphere makes him feel differently about everything. He finds a good friend in banker's daughter Gertrude Hadley, who helps him believe that he can make a fresh start. But Wilse's new-found contentment is soon shattered by a series of new developments. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis







Release Date:

10 June 1923 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bittersweet  »

Box Office


$90,220 (estimated)

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (DVD)

Sound Mix:


| (tinted)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


A Jewel Production. Universal, lacking a proprietary theater chain, devised a 3-tiered branding system to enable it to market its feature product to independent theater owners: Red Feather (low budget programmers), Bluebird (mainstream releases) and Jewel (prestige productions capable of drawing higher roadshow ticket prices). This branding system ended in late 1929. See more »


At about 43:05, Wilse is crossing a room in Anne's house. He moves his bad right foot which is paralyzed throughout the film. See more »


Featured in Lon Chaney: A Thousand Faces (2000) See more »

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User Reviews

Chaney - one of the classics
16 September 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I love Chaney. He had an extremely expressive face, and the sort of body language that's seen all too rarely, especially these days. In this film, where his character is a hard-bitten criminal softening under the influence of small-town life, he really uses his talents. His ability to really LOOK disabled is amazing; the way he drags himself around on his hands, twisted legs trailing behind him, is fascinating.

This isn't one of Chaney's "thousand faces" roles - you can actually see what he really looked like - but well worth watching, for Chaney alone. It's a shame that the role of the leading lady wasn't fleshed out; she's so good and pure that she's completely boring; I couldn't understand why anyone could stand this woman's company for more than a few minutes, since she has no faults. Had she been a well-rounded character, his love for her would have been believable (not that there's anything wrong with Chaney's portrayal of tormented, unrequited love).

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