In the early days of the 1900s, every male character actor wanted a crack at Mathias, the lead in +The Bells. Sir Henry Irving made the role famous on-stage, and Frank Keenan also portrayed the murderous innkeeper of the French Alsace for the legit theater. Keenan stars, too, in this screen version, which did not come close to the quality of the stage play. It is Christmas Eve and Mathias (Keenan) has no money for his rent. His landlord, Lisparre (Joseph J. Dowling), demands to be paid by the next day and leaves. Koveski, a Polish Jew (Bert Law), stops by the inn and Mathias sees that he has a big wad of money. Desperation encourages him to take drastic measures to get that wad. The next day, the innkeeper pays the rent and from then on, his life begins looking up. Eventually he becomes the village mayor and his daughter, Annette (Lois Wilson), becomes engaged to Christian, captain of the guards (Edward Coxen). Although there is gossip about the fate of the missing Polish Jew, Mathias makes sure it never touches him. On his daughter's wedding day, a hypnotist, Gari (Carl Stockdale), is invited to the festivities. Mathias watches Gari mesmerize the town fool and then escapes upstairs. He falls asleep and dreams that he is arrested for the Jew's murder and that Gari hypnotizes the details out of him. Mathias wakes up in a frenzy and rushes downstairs. The shock of the dream is too much for him and he dies in his wife's arms.
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