Flower of the Dusk (1918)

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Although she was better known for her light comedy roles, Viola Dana sometimes appeared in highly dramatic parts, as she does in this adaptation of a novel by Myrtle Reed. Barbara North (Dana) is a lame girl who supports her blind father, Ambrose (Howard Hall), with her embroidery work. Miriam (Margaret McWade), the sister of Ambrose's dead wife, Constance (also played by Dana), takes care of them both. Ambrose is haunted by the thought that his wife, who committed suicide when Barbara was only two, did not love him. He is right -- Constance loved Lawrence Austin (Guy Coombs) and killed herself to avoid dishonor. Miriam knows this, and it eats away at her because she was in love with Ambrose herself and always resented the fact that Constance won him. Constance wrote letters to both her husband and to Barbara, admitting she loved Austin, but Miriam does not hand these letters over until Barbara is 20. When the girl reads the contents out loud to her father, she changes them so that he believes that Constance really loved him. A surgeon is able to cure both Ambrose's blindness and Barbara's lameness. Ambrose reads what was really in the letters and shortly afterwards sees Barbara, who has put on Constance's wedding dress. The shock of it all kills him, but as he is dying, Barbara convinces him that she is the spirit of Constance, coming to confess that she loved him after all. He dies happy, and Barbara finds her own happiness with Roger Austin, Lawrence's son (Jack McGowan). This picture, like most of Dana's best work during this period, was directed by her husband, John H. Collins.