Scarlet Car, The

1585. THE SCARLET CAR (1917-usa). WITH Lon Chaney, Franklyn Farnum, Edith Johnson, SAM DE GRASSE. Directed by JOSEPH DE GRASSE. While the focus of this drama is on the plight of Billy Winthrop, a small-town loafer-turned-hero, the scenario is made memorable by the performance of Lon Chaney, “The Man Of A Thousand Faces.” Chaney plays Paul Revere Forbes, descendant of the Revolutionary War patriot and father of Beatrice, an innocent damsel in distress. Forbes, a bank cashier, discovers that his scheming employer, Cyrus Peabody, has frittered away the bank’s money. He confronts Peabody, a fight ensues, and Forbes is killed-or so it seems. Chaney is most impressive in his later scenes, in which his character is hidden away in a remote cabin-and has lost his mind. Here, as he expresses Forbes’ turmoil and confusion while surrounded by darkness, he shows the brilliance that was to make him one of the legendary character stars of the 1920s if not the entire history of the motion picture. Also on hand is Sam de Grasse, one of the silent cinema’s most capable heavies, effectively cast as Peabody’s slimy son, who tries to manipulate Beatrice into marriage. The director, Joseph de Grasse, is his older brother. “Silent” film with original organ score, correct projection speed. 58 minutes. ÒSilentÓ Drama