Lois Weber & Anna Pavlova connect
On April 3, 1916, the silent film The Dumb Girl of Portici was released. The title sounds insulting to modern audiences, although a century ago, "dumb" simply meant "mute" or unable to speak. In the opera, which is the source, the mute girl dances and pantomimes, so it's not much of a stretch to have a prima ballerina – Anna Pavlova – play this part. Pavlova plays the sister of a humble fisherman. She spends much of her time dancing on the beach, instead of doing something useful like cleaning and gutting fish.
Lois Weber directed this eight-reel movie, and filmed the beach scenes on California's Santa Catalina Island. Other scenes were filmed at one of the million-dollar mansions in Montecito, CA.
Good news! This film survives and can be seen on Youtube.