The Man Beneath (I) (1919)

  |  Crime, Drama



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31 March 2016 | drednm
| Early John Gilbert Film
This film stars Sessue Hayakawa as a "Hindu" doctor befriended by a family in Scotland. He's in love with Kate (Helen Jerome Eddy) but she won't accept him because of his race. Meanwhile, her sister (Pauline Curley) is engaged to James (John Gilbert) who is also friends with the doctor.

After the spurned doctor goes back to India, James seeks him out because he has somehow gotten involved with the "Black Hand" society while in Italy and has testified against them in court. Two assassins are on his trail. The doctor takes James under his wing and they go on an extended European tour with the assassins in tow. Onboard a ship, they fake James' death in the hope that the assassins will stop following them.

The doctor turns the tables on the assassins by bribing the man. The woman becomes enraged and accidentally kills her partner. The doctor them blackmails her to leave James alone and forget him. Back in Scotland, the lover are reunited but Kate still spurns the doctor, afraid of becoming a social outcast. The doctor's final comment is that the stars will follow their separate paths but with one love.

The title refers to the man that the doctor is at his core despite the fact that others see him as a Hindu. Even as Kate shrinks back from his touch, another telling scene has the sister rush at him when he tells them James is safe. With arms outstretched, she cannot bring herself to actually embrace the Hindu.

The three stars are quite good, with the 22-year-old Gilbert especially good as James. Fanny Midgley plays the servant and Fontaine La Rue and Wedgwood Nowell play the assassins.



Crime | Drama

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