Produced by Hope Hampton Productions; Released 9/03/22 by Associated First National Pictures; Director: Clarence Brown; Screenplay: William Dudley Pelley and Clarence Brown, from a story by William Dudley Pelley; Cinematography: Alfred Ortlieb and Ben Carré; 6 reels (5600'; see Notes); Print Source: George Eastman House, Library of Congress (see Notes);
CAST: Hope Hampton (Bessie MacGregor), E. K. Lincoln (J. Warburton Ashe), Lon Chaney (Tony Pantelli), Teresa Maxwell Conover (Mrs. Templeton Orrin), Dorothy Walters (Mrs. Flaherty), Charles Mussett (Detective Braenders), Edgar Norton (Peters), Dore Davidson (Jerusalem Mike), Mr. McClune (Socrates Stickles)
SYNOPSIS: Bessie MacGregor, a coat-check girl in a popular cafe, is struck by the car of Mrs. Templeton Orrin, a wealthy society woman who takes Bessie into her home while she recovers. Mrs. Orrin's brother, J. Warburton Ashe, professes his love for Bessie, but when she learns that he is only trifling with her, she flees the home, heartbroken. Unable to find work, she collapses one day in the boarding house in which she is staying. She is nursed back to health by the landlady, Mrs. Flaherty, and Tony Pantelli, a tough mug who lives in the house. Ashe, realizing he has acted as a cad, takes a trip to England to forget his misery, and during a hunting expedition he comes across a mysterious chalice that some believe to be the Holy Grail. Mrs. Orrin urges her brother to return home to help locate Bessie. Tony tries to raise money to pay Bessie's medical bills, so he steals the chalice from Ashe's home. The cup is later recovered by the police in a raid on a pawnbroker's shop, and soon news of the cup's mysterious healing powers, and the way in which it glows in the dark, reaches the newspapers. Bessie tells Tony the story of the Holy Grail, and Tony again steals the cup, this time in an attempt to cure Bessie. Bessie indeed makes a speedy recovery, but Tony is caught and put on trial for the theft. During the trial, Bessie and Ashe are reunited and Tony is acquitted when Ashe refuses to press the charges against him. Some time later, the pawnbroker, now in Sing Sing, tells how he hid some radium in the cup, which explains the mysterious glow.
"In introducing the new process of color photography, Associated First National has made doubly secure an offering that from the standpoint of material and treatment promises to give wide satisfaction...Lon Chaney has the type of role in which he has proven exceptionally skillful. His is a real sympathetic contribution." ---Moving Picture World
"If its story possessed half the merit of its technical equipment, it might have proved a world- beater. It doesn't, so it isn't...Mr. Chaney is a somewhat more kindly crook than is his wont, and Mr. Lincoln struggles along in the fat but unconvincing hero role." --- Variety
NOTES: Some sources differ on the length of the original picture, and report it to be either 5600' or 7500', a difference of two full reels. The 5600' estimate is probably correct, but determination of the true length is complicated by the existence of an alternate version of the picture. A Rhode Island film distributor specializing in religious subjects acquired the film in the mid-20's and re-edited it to a 3-reel short, retitled THE LIGHT OF FAITH, which emphasized the subplot involving the Holy Grail. Thankfully, state law required that films for schools and churches (the major market for that distributor) be printed on the nonflammable safety stock, so this multi-tinted version exists today. The films from this distributor were eventually acquired by the Rhode Island Historical Society who donated them to the American Film Institute. Both the full-length version and the 3-reel reissue were released as beautiful multi-tinted prints, and reviewers of the time commented on the stunning "color photography" used in the film.
Some sources list the character played by Dorothy Walters as "Mrs. Callerty."
© 1997,2008 Jon C. Mirsalis
Return to Filmography