The Silent CommandAnimated/Adventure/Drama
Box Office: $0.0M
PRINCIPAL CASTBela Lugosi, Edmund Lowe
DIRECTORJ. Gordon Edwards
Enemy agents, led by the sinister Benedict Hisston, plan to destroy the Panama Canal and wreck the U.S. Atlantic Fleet in the process. Richard Decatur, a high-ranking Navy official, is the only man who knows the Canal's weak spots. Hisston hires seductress Peg Williams to get the information from him by any means necessary. To his colleagues' shock, Decatur resigns his commission and elopes with the sexy young vamp. Little do they realize that the heroic navy man has learned of the saboteurs' plans, and tricks the spies into an ambush with the very fleet they hoped to destroy.
Produced by Fox with the full support of the government, The Silent Command is essentially a propaganda film championing the U.S. Navy's recent expansion. It is much more important as the American film debut of legendary horror actor Bela Lugosi, who had emigrated from Hungary two years prior. After being spotted in his first English language play, The Red Poppy with Estelle Winwood, Lugosi was cast in The Silent Command. Director J. Gordon Edwards made good use of tight close-ups of Bela's mesmerising eyes, predating Dracula (1931) and his other horror roles. Dapper co-star Edmund Lowe would appear alongside Lugosi in Chandu the Magician (1932), Gift of Gab (1934), and Best Man Wins (1935) in the sound era. Best known for his role of Sergeant Henry Quirk in the silent war comedy What Price Glory? (1926) and its three sequels, Lowe's impeccable sense of style would serve him well when sparring with Jean Harlow in Dinner at Eight (1933). J. Gordon Edwards directed most of "Original Vamp" Theda Bara's films, as well as the massive Fox production The Queen of Sheba (1921). His grandson, Blake, would turn out to be a formidable filmmaker himself (Breakfast at Tiffany's, The Pink Panther).
Alpha Home Entertainment/Gotham