Soul-Fire (1925)

Genres - Drama, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Drama  |   Run Time - 100 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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Eric Fane (Richard Barthelmess) studies music in Paris, but his parents (Lee Baker and Effie Shannon) call him home and ask him to give it up to go into business. He refuses and returns to France. He gets involved with Rhea, a Russian princess (Carlotta Montery), is swept up by the Parisian nightlife, and writes popular music. He knows he isn't achieving what he set out to do and prefers to live in poverty as he searches for his artistic voice. Rhea refuses to share this life, and eventually, Eric winds up in Port Said, playing in a tawdry dancehall. He gets into an altercation with a sailor and shoots him. With the help of the woman who is in charge of the hall, Eric escapes and winds up on an island in the South Seas. There he meets Teita, an English girl whose parents are dead (Bessie Love). A romance blossoms and they make plans to marry. On the eve of the ceremony, Eric finds a mark on Teita's shoulder and believes she may have contracted leprosy. In a panic, he sends for the doctor and plays the piano while waiting for him to arrive. He writes a beautiful piece, and when the doctor shows up, he diagnoses only a minor illness. The music Eric has written proves his genius. This drama was based on an unsuccessful stage play, Great Music, by Martin Brown. It fared better onscreen because it was easier to re-create the diverse locations on film.