Passionate Quest (1926)

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Based on a 1923 novel by Edward Phillips Oppenheim and directed by film pioneer J. Stuart Blackton, this silent society drama featured May McAvoy, Gardner James, and Willard Louis attempting to free themselves from the negative influence of their guardian, De Witt Jennings. In London, McAvoy goes on the stage and fails, but is courted by the play's author, Holmes Herbert. That doesn't sit well with either James or Louis, the former drinking himself half to death, the latter marrying a wealthy widow (Vera Lewis) out of spite. Intent on breaking up her engagement to Holmes, Louis persuades McAvoy to become a model for Madame Mathilde (Louise Fazenda) and then schemes to seduce her. The ploy backfires, however, when Vera Lewis catches her new husband in the act, so to speak, and then proceeds to ruin him socially as well as financially. James, meanwhile, secures a publishing deal and is happily reconciled with McAvoy. Young leading man Gardner James was married at the time to the film's screenwriter, Marion Blackton, who was also the sister of the director.