The unexpected birth of a child to burlesque dancer Elois Murree ( Julia Swayne Gordon ) arouses an intense motherly love which leads her to send her daughter Yvette ( Anita Stewart ) to a fashionable boarding school away from the stage environment and her drunken husband. As Yvette grows older, she dreads visiting her overly affectionate, perfumed mother. During one visit, Murree ( Harry Northrup ) slashes Elois' left eye in an argument. Elois convinces Yvette that the violence was a dream and continues her career, now veiled, billed as the Masked Queen. Although Yvette and Rex ( E. K. Lincoln ), the brother of her friend, become attracted to one another, Yvette refuses to see him after she learns that he wants his prospective bride to come from a good family. When Yvette witnesses her mother perform unashamedly in a transparent silk gown, she is outraged, but soon finds herself attracted to stage life. After Elois learns that Yvette has become a burlesque queen, she tries to kill her to save her soul and then commits suicide, leaving the bloodied knife in the hands of her drunken husband, who then is arrested. Later, Yvette finds happiness with Rex.
This 1919 silent melodrama was produced by the Vitagraph Company of America, directed by Ralph Ince and starred Anita Stewart. The survival status of The Painted World is listed as unknown, sadly suggesting it may now be a lost silent film.
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