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The Courage of Silence (1917)

The Courage of Silence (1917) Vitagraph Co. of America. A Blue Ribbon Feature. Distributor: Greater Vitagraph (V.L.S.E., Inc) Director: William P.S. Earle. Scenario: Milton Nobles. Camera: Clark R. Nickerson. Cast: Alice Joyce, Harry T. Morey, Willie Johnson, Mildred May, Cleo Ayres, Robert Gaillard, Walter McGrail, Anders Randolf, Dorothy Conroy. 5 reels This film appears to be LOST

Review from Variety
Review from the New York Dramatic Mirror
Review from Moving Picture World
Review from the New York Times
Review from Photoplay

Review from Variety, Feb 2, 1917

Mercedes Alice Joyce
Bradley Harry T. Morey
Bobby Willie Johnson
Baby Mildred May
Alice Cleo Ayres
Hammond Robert Gaillard
Saunders Walter McGrail

Alice Joyce and Harry T. Morey are the stars of this five-reel Vitagraph feature, which was written by Milton Nobles and directed by William P.S. Earle. The story is a little slow in starting, but once underway holds the sustained interest of the audience. The lightings throughout are particularly good and the cast was well selected. The action of the story is laid in three countries, America, England and France. The Bradley family live in America. There is the husband, wife, and two children. All are happy until Bradley is sent to England, where he meets and becomes infatuated with the wife of the Spanish Ambassador. She returns his affection not knowing he is married. After he has returned to America she sends him a miniature of herself. This acts as a magnet to draw him back. Her husband is frightfully jealous and when he discovers her riding in the company of Bradley, he confronts her with the fact that she is in love with the American and thrashes her with his riding crop. She leaves him and goes to Bradley and together they leave for the continent. While crossing the Channel he confesses the fact that he is a married man, and when they reach Calais she eludes him, later entering a convent. He is so infatuated that he remains abroad looking for her. In America Mrs. Bradley receives a letter written by her husband, informing her of his intended elopement with the spanish beauty. Later the Bradley family comes to France in company with the wife's father. The wife and the two children are taken ill, the physician obtains a nun from a nearby convent to nurse them. Of course it is Mercedes (Alice Joyce) the girl who eloped with the father. She naturally effects a reconciliation without revealing her identity and all ends happily, Bradley only discovering at the last minute who was responsible for his return in good grace to the bosom of his family. The story is one that might cause a lot of discussion properly worked up in a publicity way. The role of the home wrecker, while not actually in accord with the general sympathies of the audience at first, finally wins them over at the finish of the picture. The feature is worth while playing.


Review from the New York Dramatic Mirror, February 10, 1917


Five-Part Drama by Milton Nobles. Directed by Wm. P.S. Earle. Featuring Alice Joyce and Harry T. Morey and Produced by Vitagraph as a Blue Ribbon Feature for Release by V.L.S.E. Feb. 12

Mercedes Alice Joyce
Bradley Harry T. Morey
Bobby Willie Johnson
Baby Mildred May
Alice Cleo Ayres
Hammond Robert Gaillard
Saunders Walter McGrail

Unusually powerful because of its intense human interest and owing to the fact that it is acted and directed with more than ordinary skill, "The Courage of Silence," which was the feature attraction at the Rialto Theater, New York, last week, is one of the best that has come from Vitagraph studios in some little time.

It is one of those stories which will remain popular to the end of time, probably, because it embodies the sympathetic qualities which have so large a part in our lives, because it is interesting, and in the end leaves a satisfied feeling. It is gratifying, even though life is not always so kind, to have things turn out the way they do in the case of Bradley, played by Harry T. Morey with great naturalness; Mercedes, in which Alice Joyce gives a most convincing performance, and Alice, a beautiful and appealing figure in the hands of Cleo Ayres.

Bradley and Alice, with their two children, are happy and prosperous till fate sends him to London. There he meets Mercedes, unhappy wife of the jealous Spanish ambassador. She, ignorant of the fact that he is married, flees from the husband with Bradley to France. When she learns the truth, she leaves him and enters a convent. Later, as a novitiate nurse she nurses Alice and the two children, who have been stricken while traveling in France and finally reunites the husband and wife. Only at the end does Bradley recognize in the gentle nurse the woman for whom he wrecked him home. And then, with the courage of silence, she bids them good-by and carries the guilty secret in her heart.

The scenes are charming, the continuity excellent and the photography of the best. It is a picture that any exhibitor may book with a certainty that it will please his audiences, no matter what their class.


Reviews from Moving Picture World, February 17, 1917

"The Courage of Silence"
Vitagraph Blue Ribbon Feature Written by Milton Nobles--Alice Joyce and Harry Morey in the Star Roles.
Reviewed by Edward Weitzel.

SHAKESPEARE'S famous remark on frailty put the stigma on woman alone. "The Courage of Silence," the Vitagraph Blue Ribbon photoplay written by Milton Nobles, makes one of the male sex a member of the frailty class and shows him to be a worse offender than the woman in the case. An American business man, married to a beautiful woman and the father of two fine youngsters goes over to London, and while there meets the wife of the Spanish Ambassador. She is unhappily married and is attracted by the American. In a moment of passion they imagine they have fallen in love with each other. The American returns home, decides he cannot live without the other woman, deserts his family and elopes with the wife of the Spanish gentleman. When she learns the truth about the American's family affairs she leaves him, enters a convent, and is the means of bringing Bradley and his family together again. Mercedes had never loved her husband and had been treated cruelly by him. The American hadn't the shadow of an excuse for his misconduct.

So much for the moral aspect of the Milton Noble photoplay! As a piece of craftsmanship it is a credit to its builder. The story unfolds skillfully and is made doubly entertaining by the completeness of the production. The locations include scenes in the United States, London and the South of France. All have been carefully selected and the illusion is complete.

The cast is proficient. Alice Joyce satisfies the eye in the character of the Spanish woman, and although somewhat restrained in her expression of feeling, succeeds in winning sympathy for her belief in her better nature. Harry Morey's personality stands him in good stead as the American. Bradley is a cad at heart, but actor makes one almost forget the fact. Anders Randolf is an imposing figure as the Ambassador, and Robert Gaillard is equal to the requirements of Hammond. Cleo Ayers makes an attractive wife for Bradley. Willie Johnson and Mildred May are clever as his two children. William P.S. Earle directed the picture.

"THE COURAGE OF SILENCE" (Five Parts--Feb. 12.)--The cast: Mercedes (Alice Joyce); Bradley (Harry Morey); Bobby (Willie Johnson); Baby (Mildred May); Alice (Cleo Ayres); Hammond (Robert Gaillard); Saunders (Walter McGrail); Spanish Ambassador (Anders Randolf); French Girl (Dorothy Conroy)

Bradley, who is happily married and loves his family, is called to London on business. There he meets Mercedes, wife of the Spanish Ambassador. The marriage has been forced upon her, and her husband is cruel. Unaware that Bradley is married, she falls in love with him and he is also infatuated. His better nature finally prevails, and he returns home and is happy until he receives a photograph from Mercedes.

On pretext of business, he again goes back to Mercedes, finds there has been a quarrel, and that the ambassador has struck her. She and Bradley go away together, and while crossing the channel, he inadvertently discloses the fact that he is married. Mercedes unwilling to come between husband and wife, flees to a convent and Bradley, unable to find her, joins and expedition to the forests of South America.

Bradley has written his wife that he is a coward. Her health fails and her father takes her and the children for a trip abroad. The children are attacked by an epidemic of fever and Mercedes, now a nurse, is summoned. She learns the identity of the family, and when the boy calls for his father, she starts a search for him.

After the crisis, Mercedes, who has concealed her identity by use of a veil, wins her fight against a renewal of their relations and wants Bradley, who has recognized her to keep his wife in ignorance. Recovering from the fever which has now claimed her, she sees the united family depart for America, and knows her heart is empty and closed forever to love.

Review from the New York Times, January 29, 1917

"The Courage of Silence," a photoplay a little above the average when one has overlooked the predominance of coincidence, was the new feature offering at the Rialto. Alice Joyce and Harry T. Morey were its stars.

Review from Photoplay, May, 1917

"The Courage of Silence," a Vitagraph vehicle for the talents of Alice Joyce, is one of the best plays to come from Brooklyn in months. It is by Milton Nobles, directed by W.P.S. Earle, and it approximates life. It contains neither heroine nor hero, villain nor vamp. It is magnificently acted by Miss Joyce, Harry Morey and Anders Randolf. A successful man of affairs in America, with a pretty wife and two adorable children, is sent to London to investigate his firm's foreign trade, and there, at an evening party, meets the wife of the Spanish Ambassador. Her life is murky with the quintessence of Latin suspicion, for her husband is jealous and abusive. It is quite natural that she should expand the first flash of physical attraction between herself and the American to something broader and deeper. He becomes her confidante and when he falls, falls hard. She proposes a elopement; he consents--having first returned to America, only to fly back--and writes his wife that he has discovered the ultimate happiness outside his home. So with the Spanish woman he crosses the English Channel. Here comes the bit of antisepsis which put the play by the censors: he opens his watch, and in the case she sees the photograph of his wife and children. She refuses to consummate or continue their unsanctioned alliance, for she did not know that he was a married man. This bit of smug unlikelihood may be pardoned for the story's general excellence. She becomes a sister of charity--he goes to Africa. The wife and children, on the advice of her father, follow him, with no bitterness, as far as Marseilles. There the children are taken ill, and it is of course the Spanish sister who is sent to nurse them. The little girl recovers; the boy pines for his father. The nurse sends for him, and eventually is the instrument mending the broken home. No woman on the screen looks more like a Spanish lady than Alice Joyce. Her suave, reposeful beauty appears to grow more effective each season. It is a joy to see such men as Morey, who plays Bradley, the truant husband; and Anders Randolph, the Spanish Ambassador.

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Last revised August 24, 2005