Best Drama Movies of 1923
A Woman of Paris: A Drama of Fate
When Marie St. Clair believes she has been jilted by her artist fiance Jean, she decides to leave for Paris on her own. After spending a year in the city as a mistress of the wealthy Pierre Revel, she is reunited with Jean by chance. This leaves her with the choice between a glamorous life in Paris, and the true love she left behind.
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
In 15th century France, a gypsy girl is framed for murder by the infatuated Chief Justice, and only the deformed bellringer of Notre Dame Cathedral can save her.
The rituals of courtship, romantic rivalry and love play out three times as a man vies with a villain for the girl. In the Stone Age, the rivalry is set off by dinosaurs, a turtle used as a ouija board, and a round of golf with stones. In ancient Rome, the men display their brawn through a chariot race, using dogs instead of horses. In contemporary times, the man finds himself overcome by modernity, including a very fragile car.
The Ten Commandments
The first part tells the story of Moses leading the Jews from Egypt to the Promised Land, his receipt of the tablets and the worship of the golden calf. The second part shows the efficacy of the commandments in modern life through a story set in San Francisco. Two brothers, rivals for the love of Mary, also come into conflict when John discovers Dan used shoddy materials to construct a cathedral.
Based on Oscar Wilde's play, the films tells the story of how Salomé agrees to dance for King Herod in return for the head of John the Baptist.
A law student becomes an outlaw French revolutionary when he decides to avenge the unjust killing of his friend. To get close to the aristocrat who has killed his friend, the student adopts the identity of Scaramouche the clown.
The White Sister
Angela Chiaromonte is the daughter of a wealthy Italian prince who is killed in a fall from his horse. Though Angela stands to inherit half of a large estate, her older half-sister burns the will and thus inherits everything herself, throwing Angela into poverty. Fortunately, Angela is engaged to marry dashing Captain Giovanni Severi - but he soon is captured by Arabs while on an expedition to Africa. Believing him dead, Angela, dedicating her life to his memory, becomes a nun, unaware that her lover has escaped his captors and is returning to Italy. The dramatic climax takes place against a backdrop of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
Woman to Woman
David Compton leaves his expecting French girl-friend Louise Boucher, a dancer at the Moulin Rouge, for the war where he looses his memory. Building a new life from scratch after the war, he gets married in London. Louise, now a mother, thinks him dead. She becomes a famous dancer under the name Deloryse but falls gravely ill. One night, as David is in the audience of her show, he recovers his memory. When she learns that David is married to another woman, Louise turns her son in the care of David's new wife and accepting a dancing job at a party, she dies there of exhaustion and sorrow.
The White Rose
A wealthy young Southern aristocrat, Joseph, graduates from a seminary and, before he takes charge of his assigned parish, decides to go out and see what "the real world" is all about. He winds up in New Orleans and finds himself attracted to a poor, unsophisticated orphan girl, Bessie. One thing leads to another, and before long Bessie finds that she is pregnant with Joseph's child.
Souls for Sale
A young woman hits Hollywood, determined to become a star.
Penrod and Sam
The Grub Stake
A young woman is lured to the Yukon by a gambler with promises of marriage and a grubstake for a gold mine. She takes her ailing father with her, only to discover when she gets there that the gambler was lying to her and actually planned to sell her to a dance hall. She gathers her father and an old miner she has met, takes a dogsled and supplies from the gambler and the three of them head for the wilderness to look for a lost gold claim the old miner has been looking for.
In Gossette (1923), Dulac experimented with and designed a number of special lenses and prisms to produce a variety of effects and multiply the expressive means which translate the characters' visions and mental states. She also reversed class and gender roles, as she made the female character Gossette come to the aid of Phillipe de Savières, falsely accused of murder, in order to save his name.
Michael Ramsay only has time for gathering his fortune in wheat. His wife seeks comfort elsewhere and, to avoid a scandal, her daughter Matilda assumes her mother's guilt. Ramsay nearly goes broke but gets rich again; his wife returns.
Le Gamin de Paris
Two war orphans, Joseph, apprentice printer, and Lisette, typist, live with their grandmother in Belleville. Lisette loves his next door neighbor, the painter Amedee, but this one does not offer him a union. Joseph Amedee learning is the son of a general, advocates for Lisette and everything ends in marriage.
Soul of the Beast
This northwoods comedy-drama, by way of a circus drama, was directed by John Griffith Wray for Thomas H. Ince, and stars Madge Bellamy.
10-year-old Toby runs away from his abusive uncle to join the Big Top.
The Toll of the Sea
While visiting China, an American man falls in love with a young Chinese woman, but he then has second thoughts about the relationship. The plot is a variation of the Madame Butterfly story, set in China instead of Japan. The Toll of the Sea was one of the first and most successful Technicolor feature films.
In Shanghai, an American girl who helps runs an opium ring meets an American agent disguised as a mining engineer. The two fall in love, and she has to determine where her loyalties lie.
Ashes of Vengeance
This historical piece, set in the Huguenot days of France, is Norma Talmadge's 37th feature film and the longest to date at two hours. The plot involves a man forced into servitude who falls in love with the sister of his persecutor. It was Ms. Talmadge's fourth involvement with director, Frank Lloyd and the cast included future star, Wallace Beery.
A troubled young woman comes to live with her estranged father on the New York waterfront. A tough sailor falls in love with her, sparking conflict between her father and her suitor. What neither knows is that she has a secret that could cause her to lose both of them.
Zaza is an actress and the favorite at an open-air theater in a small French town. When diplomat Bernard Dufresne comes to the village, he stays away for fear he will fall for her. But during one performance, while Zaza is singing on a swing, her rival cuts the rope and she falls. Zaza is badly injured and she makes Dufresne's acquaintance. A romance quickly springs up and he installs her in a villa. Their happiness is marred, however, when his wife appears.
A nobleman, posing as a necktie salesman, falls in love with the daughter of a circus puppeteer, even though he is already married to the daughter of his country's war minister.
Western Movies with monkeys in the roles. The son of mom and dad Monkey gets home too late after a wet night. The father, tired of this behavior has enough and throws his son out of the house.
The West~Bound Limited
The plot, old-hat though it is, does provide an opportunity for that wonderfully seedy villain, David Dirby, to do his dirty work and more importantly, to tie all the thrillingly on-the-spot railroad footage together. Railroad buffs will enjoy all the atmospheric detail director Johnson has obtained by filming in real freight yards and inside and alongside real steam engines and rolling stock.
The Nth Commandment
A department store clerk decides to marry a withdrawing colleague with tuberculosis, over another dashing, ambitious suitor, leads to a life of hardship and struggle. Though The Nth Commandment survives incomplete, enough exists of director Frank Borzage’s last film while under contract with William Randolph Hearst’s Cosmopolitan Pictures for scholar Hervé Dumont to declare “it the first truly Borzagian work.”
Three crooks pull off a magnificent crime. As they're forced to hide out together they slowly begin to distrust each other.
A Manhattan playboy falls for a mysterious European woman, whom he notices is an exact double for a famous socialite who disappeared at the turn of the century. At first he thinks it's just a coincidence, as the beautiful young woman he's romancing is much younger than the woman who vanished, who would be in her late 50s or early 60s by now. Soon, however, he begins to believe that maybe it's not such a coincidence after all.
A gang of blackmailers sends a cripple to San Francisco to expose a banker they have been blackmailing. However, the cripple meets and falls in love with the banker's daughter.
A Clouded Name
To avoid seeing Marjorie Dare, Jim Allen visits Stewart Leighton at the latter's country home. (Five years earlier Jim's engagement to Marjorie Dare was broken when her mother was killed and his father disappeared.) Through certain circumstance Marjorie also becomes Leighton's guest, and Jim moves out into the woods. There he meets Smiles, a little girl in the care of strange old Ben Tangleface. Leighton wishes to wed Marjorie for her money and is trying forcefully to persuade her to accept him when Jim comes to the rescue. But Ben, his memory stirred by the sight of Leighton, kills him. Explanations reveal Smiles to be Dorothy's sister and Ben, Jim's father. He was wounded while defending Marjorie's mother, whom Leighton killed.
Little Church Around the Corner
A wealthy minister in a mining town is something of an advocate for the miners' safety, but he doesn't really get involved in the issue. He is soon snapped out of that attitude, however, when his daughter is trapped underground in a mine explosion, along with the mine's owner.
Within the Law
When Mary Turner is sent to prison for a crime she did not commit, she vows upon her release to take vengeance on those who wronged her, always staying however within the letter of the law.
Where the North Begins
Action adventure set in the wilds of Alaska
The Silent Command
A distinguished young Naval officer from a celebrated military falls prey to a terrorist and his seductress accomplice bent on destroying the Panama Canal.
The Blue Lagoon
The Blue Lagoon is a 1923 silent film adaptation of Henry De Vere Stacpoole's 1908 novel of the same name about children who come of age while stranded on a tropical island. This is the first telling of this often filmed story. This film was followed by remakes in 1949, 1980 and 2012.
Enemies of Women
The dashing but arrogant Prince Michael Fedor Lubimoff has to flee Tsarist Russia after falling into disgrace and settles in Monte Carlo, where he resumes his life of debauchery while World War I ravages the fields of Europe… (Partially lost film; reels 3 and 9 of a total of 11 are missing.)
A ne're-do-well man, a beautiful girl, and her one-legged body-guard/family servant are the sole survivors---they think---of a ship wreck and make it to a uninhabited south-seas island. The influence of the girl brings about a reformation of the man in this version of Eden...until three sailors, also survivors, show up, and have designs on the girl. Then a pirates' treasure chest is discovered buried on the beach, and matters become even more tense...and violent.
Mist in the Valley
An ex-nun weds an amnesia victim and is framed for killing her usurping uncle who posed as her father.
The arrival of pretty Carol Milford in the staid Midwestern town of Gopher Prairie really shakes up the locals.
An attorney's wife is determined to fight the evils of addictive substances.
Boston Blackie is a former prison inmate campaigning to outlaw Warden Benton's infamous "Water Cross" torture. Benton, however, is successful in his attempt to have Blackie arrested and returned to the prison, but his evil schemes are ultimately thwarted by Mary Carter, Blackie's girlfriend, who manages to alert the governor.
Love, Life and Laughter
Love, Life and Laughter tells the story of a pair of working class youngsters with big dreams – a cheery chorus girl and a serious writer. The film toys with our expectations, blurring the boundaries of reverie and reality; tragedy and comedy. Directed by George Pearson, the film was considered lost for many years until in March 2014 when a copy was discovered in an old Dutch cinema.
Silent World War I (WWI) romantic melodrama (based on the novel by William Dudley Pelly) .
The First Degree
Sam Bass receives a summons to testify before a grand jury, and not realizing that the matter concerns sheep-stealing he assumes it to concern the murder of his brother, Will.
Long Live the King
A young crown prince, wishing to be just an ordinary boy, runs away with his friend. The king dies, and when the prince does not appear, the people begin to rise in revolution. When the crown prince finally hears the death knell for the late king he immediately attempts to return to the palace, however is abducted by revolutionaries and held captive. Will he be rescued in time to restore order?
Mary of the Movies
Mary's kid brother needs an operation and, in order to pay for it, Mary goes to a Hollywood studio and applies for a job as an actress. Mary is given a job as a waitress in the commissary, and gets to meet 40 actors, actresses and directors, none of whom tip big enough to enable Mary to earn enough money to pay for an operation. Will Mary become an actress and make some big money?
The Most Shocking Film of 1923! Directed by Herbert Blache, The Untameable dramatizes the then-sensational subject of dual personality, with Gladys Walton in the dual role of Joy and her whip-toting, brutal, sadistic alter-ego Edna, and Etta Lee as her faithful Asian lesbian maid.
The Tango Cavalier
Don Armingo, a member of the Secret Service, is inspired while dancing the tango to join a group of smugglers at the Mexican border. As he is about to make the arrest, they take flight, kidnapping Don's sweetheart. Following in his airplane, he circles above the getaway car and plucks the girl from the tonneau cover just as it speeds over an embankment.
Believing her husband to be unfaithful, Helene Savelli takes her son, Jackie, to the Holdens' farm and dies shortly afterward. The Holdens keep Jackie, but he eventually goes to the city when the elderly couple lose their farm and retire to the poorhouse. Jackie next is befriended by Cesare Gallo, a sidewalk musician who was also the teacher of Paul Savelli--now a famous violinist. A chance meeting with Savelli by Jackie reunites him with Gallo just before the old man dies. Savelli takes Jackie home with him, happily discovers the boy to be his son, and restores the farm to the Holdens.
The Fiery Hand
In this exciting adventure based on the second Fu-Manchu novel, intrepid sleuths Nayland Smith and Petrie investigate a haunted house, but get more of a fright than they expected. Caught by the evil Dr Fu-Manchu, Nayland Smith faces a plague of ravenous Cantonese rats - a torture known as 'The Six Gates of Joyful Wisdom'. Will Petrie end his agony, with the razor-sharp ‘Friend’s Sword’?