Dark Secrets (1923)

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The plot to this routine Paramount drama was apparently inspired by current interest in the work of Emile Coue, a hypnotist and pioneer in autosuggestion (he's the one responsible for the quote, "Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better"). The talents of lively Dorothy Dalton are pretty much wasted. As society girl Ruth Rutherford, she gets to display her spirited willfulness early on by defying her fiancé, Lord Wallington (Robert Ellis), and riding a powerful Arabian horse he has given her. But when she is thrown from the horse and confined to a wheelchair, she is left without very much to do. Mohamed Ali, a mystical Egyptian physician (Jose Ruben), offers to cure her if she agrees to marry him. Ruth backs out on the agreement once she is ambulatory again, and Ali attacks her. Biskra, Ruth's massive manservant (Pat Hartigan), kills Ali, who, with his last breath, damns her back to the wheelchair. In the meantime, Lord Wallington has been drowning himself in alcohol and Ruth helps to regenerate him. Eventually she figures out that her inability to walk was completely mental in nature and had nothing to do with Ali's curse.

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Keywords

alcoholism, con/scam, curse, damsel-in-distress, doctor/nurse, fiancee, horse, injury, love, love-conquers-all, marriage, romance, seduction, wheelchair