Why are silent films so fucking long?!?! I mean seriously, this movie was over four hours long!!!! Okay sorry, I had to get that out. Moving on...
First of all, this movie is really hard to find. It is not available on the internet and you have to pay like forty dollars to get it on Amazon. It is available on Netflix.
This French silent film starts with a pretty amazing train crash, considering the time. A man rescues a little girl from the wreck and raises her as his own along with his young son. Eventually, the "father" falls in love with her and so does the son (tension...). This whole plot reminds of a melodramatic Greek tragedy. The plot is exciting but the character's actions are so beyond anything you would dream of doing (hopefully) that it is hard to relate.
This movie's influence is there. I mean, you have the impressive sets and there is this cool scene where the man looks at his palm and sees his memories. However, some parts drag on forever. There are very few title cards but fortunately the actors are pretty talented. Best to watch when you doing something else that doesn't take a lot of concentration.
This film was orginally over eight hours but was edited. There is something to be grateful for.
The director's wife died of tuberculosis which is how he got the idea for the film. I really do not see how the two relate but whatever inspires you, I guess...
According to The Book, there are references to Greek tragedies. I don't want to ruin the movie or the plays for you but there is an allusion to Oedipus and Sisyphus.