film cinema

Lon Chaney 1921
Ace of Hearts, 1921 - Goldwyn Pictures

Released September 17, 1921.

Lon Chaney (as Farrallone) and Leatrice Joy (as Lilith) are both members of a secret political society of revolutionaries intending to make the world better through assassinations and bombings.

Actor John Bowers is Forrest, a man younger than Farralone but sharing the same affection for the ideologically pure Lilith, a woman wholeheartedly dedicated to the cause with no time for love from either man. The secret group also includes a number of other gentlemen, all meeting surreptitiously in order to plan their targeted killings determined by drawing cards from a deck (incidentally, as the film starts with the lettered titles announcing the stars and director, only a single playing card without lettering is shown to title this film, that card is of course the ace of hearts.)

When Forrest is selected (by the ace of hearts drawn from a deck) to carry out a dangerous assassination of a businessman, Lilith begins to have doubts about her vow of chastity to the cause, and proposes marriage to Forrest as a way to reward and to bolster his courage to carry out the killing (he will be delivering a bomb to the eating establishment the target frequents).

Chaney's character Farrallone looks on at this change in Lilith with anguish as he has been nursing a secret love for her in silence. His affection is soon threatened with a greater problem when he realizes that Lilith and Bowers have actually fallen in love and are starting to renege on the suicidal bomb plot to further the aims of their political cause, and if there's anything their political party loathes, it is reneging, and any member who does so must be eliminated.

As with many other Lon Chaney films (Tell it to the Marines, Laugh Clown Laugh, He Who Gets Slapped), Farrallone will be put to the test to sacrifice what he wants most for the benefit of who he loves best.

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