Yes, "The Peacock Fan" is silent but I have the feeling (there is an awful lot of talking for the few titles that appear) that it was a "talkie" film supplied with titles to accommodate the many cinemas out in the less populated areas who weren't yet equipped for showing sound films. Equipping cinemas for sound involved a small fortune that some of the lesser movie houses didn't have and as well as that even some of the big studios had a "wait and see" approach to see if talkies were just another fad. But also in some country cinemas resentful audiences had rebelled against the glut of films that were all talk and no action and projectionists told how they would have to turn the sound down unless they wanted a riot!!
And this film would certainly have fitted the bill as there was absolutely no action!! Lucien Prival was not the type of actor used to top billing: he had a very distinctive look and apparently his resemblance to Erich von Stroheim often saw him cast as German officers. I remember him vividly as Chick, one of Louis Wolheim's henchmen in "The Racket"(1928).
Apart from the exotic beginning there was not a lot of excitement in this Argosy-Chesterfield-Gem bottom of the biller!! The accursed Okuri peacock fan has been an ill omened bringer of bad luck down through the years and Mr. Rossmore will have reason to regret his purchase when he is found dead the following morning. A policeman speedily comes (the bumbling Tom O'Brien) but he is not here for the murder - Rossmore called him the night before to arrest someone for robbery!!
With a flourish the sinister Dr. Dorfman (Prival) appears with orders from the police head quarters to take charge of the investigation. From evidence given it seems Rossmore's house was like Grand Central Station after his wife departed (with the fan) to the Opera: his lawyer, the lawyer's secretary (Gladden James) even a Miss Joan Kendall (Dorothy Dwan) in a scene to show Rossmore was not quite the gentleman he made out. There are more - Mrs. Rossmore back from the Opera, young Kendall
Joan's brother and Rossmore's assistant, even the maid comes in for
cross examination. At just over 50 minutes it is mercifully short.
Dorothy Dwan, who as Joan had little to do but put up a bit of a struggle, then spend the rest of the movie looking worried, was more at home in comedies supporting her husband Larry Semon but with Semon's sudden death in 1928 she made only a few more films before retiring in 1930.
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