Billions (1920)

Release Date - Dec 6, 1920 (USA)  |  
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The big question here is why did fortysomething dramatic actress Alla Nazimova decide to play an ingenue in a light comedy? This picture did nothing to help her already faltering career. About the only thing the star has in common with the character here is they are both Russian. Princess Triloff (Nazimova) uses her wealth to fund the careers of several struggling artists. One of them, Owen Carey (Charles Bryant, Nazimova's leading man on screen and in real life), comes into a vast inheritance. The princess encourages him to continue pursuing his craft, and keeps him away from fortune hunters. But Carey loses his inheritance when a different will is found and the revolution in Russia decimates the Princess's wealth. None of this matters to the pair, however, who are in love and willing to start over again in Washington Square. Apparently, no copy of this film has survived, but judging from the reviews and basic plotline, it was not one of Nazimova's finer cinematic moments. Still photos, however, reveal an intriguing stylized dream sequence designed by Natacha Rambova.