Unlike most of Lois Weber’s films, The Dumb Girl of Portici is based on a 1928 opera by Daniel Auber about a mute young woman in Naples during the Spanish occupation who has been seduced and abandoned by a Spanish nobleman-cad. For opera, a character who neither speaks nor sings may have been unusual, but for silent film, it’s perfect, as is the great ballerina Anna Pavlova, who was performing the opera in Boston at the time. Pavlova is still famous, although few have seen this magnificent actor and dancer. Here she is.
Accompanied by Hank Troy on piano