The Light in the Dark

The Light in the Dark (also known as The Light of Faith and Light of Faith) is a 1922 American silent drama film directed by Clarence Brown and stars Lon Chaney.[1][2]

The Light in the Dark
Title Frame
Directed byClarence Brown
Produced byHope Hampton (producer)
Written by
StarringLon Chaney
Hope Hampton Productions
Distributed byAssociated First National Pictures
Release date
  • September 3, 1922 (1922-09-03)
Running time
63 minutes (7 reels, 7,600 ft.)
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)


Coat-check girl Bessie MacGregor (Hope Hampton), is struck by the car of wealthy society woman Mrs. Templeton Orrin (Teresa Maxwell-Conover), who takes Bessie into her home while she recovers. Mrs. Orrin's brother, J. Warburton Ashe (E.K. Lincoln), says he loves Bessie, but when she learns he does not mean it, she flees the home, heartbroken.

Unable to find work, Bessie collapses one day in the boarding house in which she is staying. The landlady, Mrs. Flaherty (Dorothy Walters) and another boarder, Tony Pantelli (Lon Chaney) start to nurse Bessie back to health.

Ashe, realizing he was wrong in his treatment of Bessie, goes on a trip to England to forget about her. During a hunting expedition he finds a mysterious chalice that some believe to be the Holy Grail. Mrs. Orrin urges her brother to return home to help locate Bessie.

Seeing Bessie needs medical care, Tony tries to raise money by stealing the chalice. The police later recover the chalice in a raid on a pawnbroker's shop. News of the cup's mysterious healing powers, and the way it glows in the dark, reaches the newspapers.

After Bessie tells Tony the story of the Holy Grail, he again steals the chalice, this time to cure Bessie who makes a recovery, but Tony is caught and put on trial for the theft. During the trial, Bessie and Ashe are reunited and when Ashe refuses to press the charges against Tony, he is acquitted. Later, the pawnbroker, now in Sing Sing prison, confesses that the mysterious glow was from some radium he had placed in the chalice.



The Light in the Dark was filmed in New York and at the Paragon studio in Fort Lee, New Jersey.[3][4]


A review of The Light in the Dark in Moving Picture World noted: "In introducing the new process of color photography, Associated First National has made doubly secure an offering that from the standpoint of material and treatment promises to give wide satisfaction ... Lon Chaney has the type of role in which he has proven exceptionally skillful. His is a real sympathetic contribution." [5]

The Variety review said, "If its story possessed half the merit of its technical equipment, it might have proved a world-beater. It doesn't, so it isn't ... Mr. Chaney is a somewhat more kindly crook than is his wont, and Mr. Lincoln struggles along in the fat, but unconvincing hero role." [5]

The original seven-reel film was re-edited into a condensed 33-minute version known as The Light of Faith, that was circulated to schools and churches in the 1920s.[6] A copy of the film is in the George Eastman House Motion Picture Collection.[7]



  1. Blake 1998, p. 119.
  2. Anderson 1971, p. 181.
  3. Blake 1997, p. 111.
  4. "Stardust and The Light in the Dark". Exhibitors Herald. New York City: Exhibitors Herald Company. 13 (26): 84. December 24, 1921.
  5. Mirsalis, Jon C. "Review: 'The Light in the Dark'.", 2008. Retrieved: May 9, 2016.
  6. Blake 1997, p. 72.
  7. "Progressive Silent Film List: 'The Light in the Dark'." Retrieved: May 9, 2016.


  • Anderson, Robert Gordon. Faces, Forms, Films: The Artistry of Lon Chaney. South Brunswick, New Jersey: A. S. Barnes, 1971. ISBN 978-0-4980-7726-5.
  • Blake,Michael F. The Films of Lon Chaney. Vestal, New York: Vestal Press, 1998. ISBN 978-1-5683-3237-6.
  • Blake,Michael F. A Thousand Faces: Lon Chaney's Unique Artistry in Motion Pictures. Vestal, New York: Vestal Press, 1997. ISBN 978-1-8795-1121-7.
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