Starring: John Barrymore, Dolores Costello
Plot: Fabien des Grieux, a divinity student, comes to the rescue of a beautiful girl, Manon Lescaut, when her brother tries to “sell” her to the lecherous Comte Guillot de Morfontaine. Fabien and Manon fall in love and he abandons his priestly ambitions. But de Morfontaine has no intention of giving up his desire to possess Manon. She again falls into his clutches. Fabien, borrowing on his father’s wealth, transforms himself into a gentleman gambler and moves into court society. But there he discovers that Manon is endangered not only by the cruel de Morfontaine, but by the King of France himself.
This film, released just two weeks before “The Jazz Singer”, had a Vitaphone pre-recorded soundtrack with musical score & several sound effects. Vitaphone was an early sound system where music and sound was recorded on a wax disc rather than the later standard of recording directly on the film. Dialogue wasn’t recorded using this technology because synchronization was difficult to maintain. For this reason, “The Jazz Singer” remains the first “talkie” despite earlier movies (such as this one) with recorded soundtracks.