A Reincarnation Story

The Mystery of the Sleeping Death
R: Kenean Buel. B: Doty Hobart. D: Alice Joyce, Harry F. Millarde, Bob Walker, Tom Moore, Henry Hallam, Benjamin Ross. P: Kalem. USA 1914
Print: EYE
Dutch titles

“Alice Joyce plays a safe cracker who get caught by millionaire Tom Moore and this causes them to fall into a deep sleep. It seems they are reincarnations of ancient Indian lovers who were cursed by a priest with the ‘sleeping death’ as their love was forbidden. Their story is told by a modern mystic who says they can now wake up and live happily ever after.”
Ken Wlaschin: Silent Mystery and Detective Movies: A Comprehensive Filmography. McFarland 2009, p. 158

“By the later years of the 1910s, it appears that the hypnotism theme was beginning to wear thin, and was frequently watered down with more esoteric and less scientifically sound ideas. Metro’s A Sleeping Memory (1917), for example, features an intriguing premise that quickly descended into implausible complications. (…) Reincarnation enjoyed a brief vogue in films such as The Image Maker (1914) and the serial The Mystery of the Sleeping Death (1914), but was never as popular, perhaps due to its outright breaking of the rules of scientific plausibility that the psychological drama was only ever intended to strain.”
Camille Scaysbrook
Brooksie’s Silent Film Collection

About Alice Joyce
“It used to be that stock players in a company went uncredited in their films, and Kalem was one of the first companies to start naming them – that is, to market films around actors, and create stars. Alice was one of their first, and her name began appearing in reviews and in advertising. She was a household name in no time. For a time, she spent her days between New York and California, making movies on both coasts. While in New York, she was making different kinds of films, moving away from the brash Westerns for more dramatic fair – it would not be uncommon, for example, to see her play princesses and poverty-stricken women of beauty and talent, like singers. By 1913, fans were just wild about her, naming her their favourite actress and clamoring for more. Kalem, picking up on this adulation, started making two-reel ‘Alice Joyce Series’ films in 1914, so that fans could see her on screen literally every couple of weeks. Some films from 1914, many of which co-starred Tom Moore (whose brother was furtively married to Mary Pickford) include: The Cabaret Dancer, The Show Girl’s Glove, The Mystery of the Sleeping Death, The Viper, The Girl and the Stowaway, The Riddle of the Green Umbrella, The Price of Silence and The Mayor’s Secretary.”
Tammy Stone
The Silent Collection

>>> more films by Kenean Buel: A Kind of “Heist Picture”, Civil War