Hitchcock's eye for editing and framing is already evident early in his career. Here he lifts motifs from German Expressionism for a story with similarities to Lang's M. This one is a good example of why silent films should be viewed at the correct speed. The suspense conjured with lighting and acting would be lost in the frantic, cranked up style given to many of these masters after the silent era was over.
What do you call a backstage drama that takes place at the circus? Many films have been made with this premise, and this may have been the first, but there's not much to recommend here. It's an early Marian Nixon star turn with boilerplate jealousies, rivalries, crimes, love affairs. Some convincing angry mob scenes and raging, hot elephant action, but everything else is overacted - except the elephant. I think he was really angry.
I recently expanded my silent movie collection to include The Toll of the Sea (Hollywood's first full-color film), Shifting Sands (early Gloria Swanson film), Charlie Chaplin's The Circus and City Lights, and a bunch of Douglas Fairbanks' films: The Mark of Zorro, The Three Musketeers, Robin Hood, The Thief of Bagdad, The Black Pirate, and Don Q, Son of Zorro.
So far, I've watched all but the Zorro movies, which I'm holding off until November when I'll watch them to mark the centennial anniversary of the first one.
So far, my favorite silent films are The Sea Hawk, Wings, and, of course, Mel Brooks' Silent Movie.