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The Dark Silence (1916)

The Dark Silence (1916) World Film Corp.; Peerless. Distributor: World Film Corporation. Director: Albert Capellani. Story, Paul West. Camera: Hal Young. Cast: Clara Kimball Young, Edward T. Langford, Paul Capellani, Barbara Gilroy, Jessie Lewis. 5 reels. This film is apparently LOST

Review from Variety
Reviews from Moving Picture World

Review from Variety, September 22, 1916

Mildred Clara Kimball Young
Fifine Jessie Lewis
Derwent Ainsworth Edward T. Langford
Dr. Mario Martinez Paul Capellani
Sibil Barbara Gilroy

Clara Kimball Young is the star of this World release which was produced by Peerless under the direction of Albert Capellani, from the original story by Paul West. The picture is a melodramatic love tale, with a touch of European war thrown in, well acted and equally as well produced and directed. Miss Young has a role that gives her ample opportunity to let her eyes work, but does not possess any big moments that call for extraordinary emotional qualities. The story runs along for about three reels with the love tale, then there is a feel of the war stuff, a clever bit of trench warfare, and the final reel is given over to straightening out the loose threads of the romance that was shattered in the third reel. Mildred (Clara Kimball Young) is studying art in Paris, prior to the outbreak of the war. She has two admirers, one Derwent Ainsworth (Edward T. Langford), a young Englishman who is a sculptor, and Dr. Mario Martinez (Paul Capellani) an eye specialist. She favors the Englishman and the two become engaged. Shortly before they are to be married the boy receives a letter summoning him to his dying father's bedside and leaves hurriedly without seeing his fiancee. She calls at his rooms and comes across the last lines of the message, which has been partly destroyed, the only remaining part being a message of endearment and simply signed Sibil. Sibil happens to be Derwent's sister, but Mildred is unaware of this fact. War is announced and as the Germans approach Paris Dr. Martinez, who has intercepted several letters of Derwent's to the girl, prevails upon her to flee to Spain with him. He is to join her at the station. Just prior to his departure Derwent returns, learns the truth and goes to the doctor's apartment and attacks him, so that he misses his appointment. The girl returning to the house, discovers the deception, but Derwent has already enlisted with the English forces, so she joins the Red Cross. When Derwent is blinded in battle it falls to her lot to nurse him back to health, and though he recognizes her not as his former fiancee he falls in love all over again and marries her. Later in England, Dr. Martinez is prevailed upon to perform an operation on the eyes of his former rival. It is successful, but there is one laugh at the close of the picture due to a sub-title which reads "At the Close of a Perfect Day," and the hero and "shero" pick up the newspaper in which they read of the death of the doctor who has fallen on the field of battle. A good feature from a box office standpoint on the strength of the star's name and a well acted story.


Reviews from Moving Picture World

September 30, 1916

"The Dark Silence"
Clara Kimball Young the Star of a Five-Reel Peerless Photoplay Released by the World Film Corporation--The Battlefields in France Contribute to the Locations.
Reviewed by Edward Weitzel.

The scenario for "The Dark Silence" was made from a tale by Paul West, the present European conflict furnishing the background for several of the scenes. The development of the story during the first reel reveals nothing but a chain of commonplace incidents that do not always convince; then, suddenly, the clash of interests strike fire, and events move steadily forward to a compelling and unhackneyed climax.

Mildred White, and American art student in Paris, becomes engaged to a wealthy young English sculptor named Ainsworth. Mildred has also fascinated Dr. Martinez, a Spaniard, who is celebrated for his treatment of the blind. Ainsworth is called suddenly to England by the illness of his father. He leaves without seeing Mildred, and Martinez has no difficulty in convincing her that her lover has deserted her. The means by which this is brought about is the weakest point in the plot. The Englishman returns to Paris in search of Mildred, and is led to believe that she has become the companion of the Spanish doctor. In desperation, Ainsworth enlists, is blinded in the trenches, and Mildred, now a Red Cross nurse, meets him in a field hospital. She does not disclose her identity, but nurses Ainsworth with such devotion that he falls in love with her in her new character of Jeannette, and on his return to England, she accompanies him. Later, they are married. The big moment of the story comes when Ainsworth's sister learns of a celebrated surgeon who may be able to restore her brother's sight. The man is Martinez. When he hears the name of the patient, he hesitates; but his better nature triumphs. On his arrival at the Ainsworth home to perform the operation, he comes face to face with Mildred. She is terrified at the thought of her husband retaining his sight and learning her identity. She stifles this feeling, however, and urges Martinez to go ahead with the operation. After this has been performed successfully, the Spaniard completes his good work by telling Ainsworth the truth about his wife. The doctor returns to France and is killed in battle.

[Photo omitted--A man and Young wearing a smock look at a canvas]

The production of the picture is well done, except in a few incidences. The trench scenes could have been made more impressive and one or two points in the plot should have been cleared up--notably, Mildred's marriage under a false name; but, the grand climax with which the author rounds out his story, sweeps away all thought of any previous weakness of incident.

Clara Kimball Young's performance of Mildred leaves nothing to be desired. To an actress of her ability, the part presents no difficulties. She responded to every mood of the character with an ease and sureness of method that makes her impersonation doubly enjoyable. Edward T. Landford as Derwent Ainsworth is manly, earnest and sympathetic, and thoroughly competent portrayals of the remaining characters are given by Paul Capellani, Barbara Gilroy, and Jessie Lewis. The picture was directed by Albert Capellani.

October 7, 1916

"The Dark Silence"
(Five Parts--Sept. 25)--The cast: Mildred White (Clara Kimball Young); Derwent Ainsworth (Edward T. Langford); Dr. Mario Martinez (Paul Capellani); Sibil Ainsworth (Barbara Gilroy) Fifine (Jessie Lewis); Directed by Albert Capellani.

Mildred White, a young American girl studying art in Paris, is saved from a burglar's attack by Dr. Mario Martinez, a Spaniard. She doesn't understand his type, and resents his advances. She is, however, attracted to his friend, Derwent Ainsworth, a young sculptor. The friendship ripens into love and it is not long before the wedding day is set. A letter from Derwent's sister, Sibil, comes just before the auspicious event telling him to come home immediately as his father is dangerously ill. He decides to go at once, and as there is not even time to say good-by to Mildred he confides his difficulty to Dr. Martinez, who has just entered and whom he asks to explain to Mildred. Dr. Martinez seizes his opportunity--by veiled innuendo, pretending to help Mildred, he encourages her suspicions of her lover; which are confirmed some time later by seeing the half-burned letter from Sibil.

Upon Derwent's arrival in England, he writes Mildred begging her pardon for his sudden departure and explaining everything. This letter falls into the hands of Dr. Martinez, who conceals it. He finally convinces her that her affections are wasted on Derwent and urges her to go with him. Too unhappy to care what becomes of herself, Mildred agrees.

After the death of his father, Derwent hastens to Paris and is bitterly disappointed to learn that Mildred has gone to meet Dr. Martinez. He rushes to Dr. Martinez' apartment, denounces him furiously and then joins the army. Mildred learns that Derwent has been seeking her and that Martinez has lied to her about him. In despair she joins the Red Cross Society. She is called to nurse Derwent who has been blinded in battle. Concealing her identity she nurses him devotedly; he soon comes to love the faithful nurse, confides in her about the "other woman" in his life who was so heartless and faithless.

When Sibil comes to see her wounded brother, Mildred learns for the first time the grievous mistake that she made. Derwent refuses to return to England without his beloved nurse and finally the two are married. Sibil appeals to Dr. Martinez, who has won a reputation for his operations on the blind, and in behalf of her brother. Anxious to atone for the wrong he has done Derwent, Martinez consents to perform the operation.

Mildred learns of the intended operation--knows if her husband's sight is restored he will recognize the deception she practices and fears he will turn from her. However, love for her husband is stronger than all else, and she begs Dr. Martinez to perform the operation. Anxiously awaiting the outcome, Mildred prepared to leave the house as soon as she learns her husband's sight is restored. Mr. Martinez, however, fully repentant, tells the recovered Derwent the whole truth that Mildred is innocent and that only he is to blame. Derwent seeks out Mildred and the two happily embrace.

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Last revised October 13, 2005