A scene from The Bells (1926) is optically reprinted and edited to Michael Gordon¹s 7 minute composition. A meditation on the fleeting nature of life and love, as seen through the roiling emulsion of an film.
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Mathias, an Alsatian innkeeper, murders a rich Pole staying at his inn But Mathias' conscience will not let him rest, and the murdered man's spirit drives the innkeeper nearly mad. The victim's brother calls for an inquest and brings with him a sideshow mesmerist supposedly able to read minds. Mathias, as burgomaster, is called upon to conduct the inquest, but under the intuitive eye of the mesmerist cannot resist torment of his own conscience. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
Immediate inspiration for the Sept. 1926 film seems to have been the April 1926 New York stage adaptation (one of many). On Broadway that April, director Rollo Lloyd also acted the lead role of Mathias (played by Lionel Barrymore's in the film) and Edward Loeffler played the mesmerist (Boris Karloff in the film). J.M. Kerrigan (later seen in a number of John Ford films) on Broadway '26 played Father Walter. See more »
This silent film kept my interest from the very beginning to the end and this was the first time I was able to view this film with Boris Karloff playing the role as a Mesmerist who had great powers of elevating people and being able to read the minds of guilty men who commit crimes. This story mainly deals with Lionel Barrymore, (Mathias) playing the role as an innkeeper who wants to become the mayor of his small town and is always giving free drinks to most of his customers or loaning money to them. However, Mathias is deeply in debt to a man who threatens to take his inn away from him and force him and his family into the street. Boris Karloff did have a brief role in this film but his great talent along with Lionel Barrymore made this a great silent film classic. If you like good Silent films, this is one of the best. Enjoy
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