Mighty Lak'a Rose (1923)

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Just because movies before the late '20s were filmed without sound recording, it doesn't mean they were truly silent. This "heart interest" drama (an important release for First National in 1923) is a case in point -- Curtis Benton wrote the original story, inspired by the 1901 hit song "Mighty Lak' a Rose," and the tune certainly played an important part of the live score when the picture hit the theaters. Instead of the lively flappers for which she would become famous, Dorothy Mackaill plays a blind orphan, Rose Duncan, who has a special talent with the violin. Jerome Trevor, a famed pianist (Sam Hardy), hears her playing and sends her to an uncle in New York so she can become educated. But the uncle is killed in an accident on his way to meet her and she is taken in by gang leader Bull Morgan (Anders Randolph). Morgan pretends to be her uncle to elude the police, and he sees the value of keeping her around as cover. One of the crooks working under Morgan, Jimmie Harrison (James Rennie), falls in love with Rose and her beautiful music and he balks at using her to pull off a job. After a heated argument in which Rose is accidentally injured, Morgan comes under the girl's positive influence, as do the other gang members. They all decide to go straight -- even Morgan's hardened moll, Molly (Helen Montrose) -- but when they find out that Rose's blindness can be cured, they decide to pull off one last heist. Jimmie is caught and goes to prison. Trevor finally finds Rose and sends her to be trained. She is about to make her debut -- and to promise herself to Trevor -- when Jimmie shows up. Rose, who thought he was dead, is happily reunited with him.

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Keywords

bad-guy-turns-good, blindness [physical], escape, love, money, operation, reform [improve], robbery, self-sacrifice