Manon Lescaut (1914)

Genres - Drama, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Drama  |  
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The first feature-length (four reels) adaptation of Abbe Prevosts tragic novel Manon Lescaut was brought to the screen by Playgoers' Films in 1914. Opera stars Lina Cavalieri and Lucien Muratore headed the cast as the luckless Manon Lescaut and Chevalier Des Grieux. While training to become a nun, Manon is swept off her feet by the charismatic Chevalier, but the scheming Baron De Bretigny (W.L. Abington) breaks up their romance, claiming Manon as his bride. The Chevalier returns to foil the Baron and reclaim Manon for himself. But the Baron has the last laugh when he arranges with Manon's weak-willed brother Lescaut (Frank H. Westerton) to throw both hero and heroine in prison on trumped-up charges. Banished from France, Manon is forced to relocate to New Orleans, where she is once again reunited with the Chevalier -- but even here, disappointment and disaster is heaped upon them. The best-known silent version of Manon Lescaut was the later John Barrymore-Dolores Costello vehicle When a Man Loves.