Synopsis by Hal Erickson
Dumb Girl of Portici is famous today as the film in which Boris Karloff made his movie debut. This "fact" is open to debate: Karloff himself had no memories of the film's star, flamboyant dancing diva Anna Pavlova, and that bow-legged extra in the crowd scenes, photographed from behind, may or may not be "our Boris." Whatever the case, it cannot be denied that the film's storyline is based upon Daniel Francois Esprit's opera Masaniello. Anna Pavlova plays Fenella, the surprisingly non-dancing heroine, in this epic romantic tragedy. Fenella rises from rags to riches, but at a great personal price. The central role of Masaniello is played by future director Rupert Julian.