A man falsely imprisoned becomes a free man in harness by dint of an escape for vengeance not quite achieved.
A highly complex proposition filmed as simply as possible, with the Chaney magic also streamlined.
The twisted cripple disguise is just a scrunching of the legs to deceive the police in Chinatown, lawyer Webster gives it up when he returns to prison.
The most of Cummings’ film expresses in various ways Bell’s great invention of the telephone, which Frank S. Nugent in the New York Times calls the foundation of “the wrong-number industry”, if you can believe it, for it is in every way the miracle of articulate speech on intimate errands such as a ten-mile walk might have accomplished in two hours and does at the start of the film, it’s the voice that speaks out of silence in a deaf child, the vibrations that reach the heart of a deaf young woman, the comical desperation of Bell and Watson, the exasperation of their elders, oh what is it not, the invention of anything?
Bell then goes to court, defending his patent against infringement by a hoodwinked “forty-million-dollar concern, the Western Union,” and that is when Cummings has his say, and so does Alexander Graham Bell.