My Cousin (1918)

Genres - Comedy  |  
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In a questionable move, Paramount mogul Adolph Zukor signed the great operatic tenor Enrico Caruso to make three silent movies for his studio. But even though Caruso couldn't be heard, he still made an impressive debut in My Cousin. He plays two roles -- a poor sculptor, Mario Nanni and a famous tenor (naturally!), Cesare Carulli. Mario wants to impress his lady love (Caroline White), so he tells her that Carulli is his cousin. He is accused of lying, but Carulli comes to the rescue by pretending to really be Mario's cousin. Caruso does overplay, but it works within the comic context of the film, and the strength of his personality shines through. Incidentally, White, the girl in the film, was yet another opera singer signed to play in silent films.