David Zimmer, Vermont Professor, has had a nervous breakdown following the deaths of his wife and two young boys in a plane crash. One day whilst deeply depressed he discovers the work of silent comedian Hector Mann. The film gives Zimmer new direction and he decides to try and view all of Mann's films and then write a book about him. He discovers that Mann had mysteriously disappeared whilst at his peak in the silent movie business. After Zimmer's book about Mann is published he one day receives a letter from someone claiming to be Mann's wife and inviting him to visit the now old and ill Mann.
Zimmer is dismissive until Alma, a friend of the Mann family, surprises him with a gun outside his house and demands that he accompany her to the dying Mann's ranch in New Mexico. Alma reveals that Mann has secretly made a dozen movies on the ranch which have never been seen by a public audience and that these are to be destroyed within 24 hours of Mann's imminent death. A twist in the tale has Zimmer and Alma falling in love and they arrive just before Mann dies. Alas Zimmer only has time to see one of the secret movies before they are destroyed by Mann's widow. Alma tells Zimmer Mann's life history as she is writing a biography of Mann. It is an interesting life and we learn the reasons for his disappearance.
This report prepared by John Marcel