Greater Than Art (1915)

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This Edison drama shows how far mid-1910s silent films stretched credibility in the name of romance! Lavinia Santell, an American art student in Paris (Gertrude McCoy), is left penniless when her father dies in an accident. Because she risks having to leave the academy where she studies, one of its directors, an old roué named Count Paul La Fleur, offers to help her. When Guy Crosby comes from America to study at the academy, he and Lavinia fall in love. The jealous Count challenges Guy to a duel. Lavinia, however, knows that Guy's not a marksman so she writes La Fleur a note, offering to leave the city with him if he will only call off the duel. He refuses and Guy receives a scalp wound which affects his eyesight. A prize is being given out at the academy, and Lavinia slashes her own painting so that Guy's piece will win. But while he is working on his masterpiece -- with Lavinia as his model -- the count sends him her letter. Guy believes she has compromised herself and goes i nto such a rage he is rendered completely blind. Lavinia finishes the painting for him, a millionaire buys it and the count admits that Lavinia wrote the letter in desperation to save Guy's life. Guy's sight, and his trusting love of Lavinia, both return.