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The Ace of Hearts

(silent 1921 b 75')

En: 5 Ed: 4

A secret society designates one member to murder an enemy; but he marries a female member and develops doubts.

A special knock allows men to enter the house of a brotherhood. Mr. Morgridge (Hardee Kirkland) tells seven men that Lilith said they could proceed without her. All vote for the death of a menacing man. Mr. Farallone (Lon Chaney) and Mr. Forrest (John Bowers) volunteer to notify Lilith.

Farallone wins a coin toss but lets Forrest go in first. Forrest tells Lilith (Leatrice Joy) that one of them will be chosen as the executioner. Forrest asks her about love and shows her a marriage license, but she says she cares only about the cause.

The three return to the brotherhood. Lilith deals cards, and Forrest gets the ace of hearts. Morgridge gives him a bomb device and money to escape. Lilith agrees to marry Forrest to give him more courage. Farallone is upset. He sees Forrest and Lilith on the street and learns they are married.

Farallone stands in the rain outside their house. Forrest gets up early, and Farallone still sits on the steps. Lilith has doubts and says others may suffer. She tells Forrest not to do it because they can run away; but he says he will not break his oath. Forrest leaves and sees Farallone, who asks if he has more courage. Lilith gets dressed. Forrest asks Farallone to take care of Lilith if something happens to him.

Farallone goes to the brotherhood. Others leave, and Lilith knocks. She tells Farallone that Forrest won't do it. Forrest is a waiter in a restaurant and puts the device in his coat. Farallone tells Lilith that he will save Forrest if he weakens provide that she agrees to marry him if Forrest dies. She won't let Farallone go to Forrest to betray him, and she says she loves Forrest.

The Menace (Raymond Hatton) enters the restaurant and tells Forrest to stand by him. Forrest sees that a young couple in love is near the chair where he planned to place the bomb.

The brotherhood gets a newspaper, but no murder is reported. Forrest comes to the brotherhood with the device and explains that he could not harm the young couple. Morgridge orders Forrest to leave with Lillian, who corrupted him. He says they will kill Forrest, who says they can do it now. Forrest and Lilith leave. Forrest tells her that love gives one more courage but only for good deeds.

At their meeting Farallone questions destructive methods. He sets the device under the table. Morgridge deals the cards, and Farallone gets the ace of hearts. Farallone laughs, and the bomb explodes. In the final scene Forrest and Lilith get off a train and read in the newspaper how seven men were killed.

This suspenseful drama depicts a group of people who are willing to use murder to advance their cause; but the experience of love persuades some of them that the killing of any innocent people is wrong. The use of a Russian name was changed so that the movie would not reflect so obviously that this was a Communist group.

Copyright © 2006 by Sanderson Beck

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