Landi, a Jewish girl, attempts to travel through her native Russia in 1913 to see her father who is dying in a St. Petersburg prison. The only way she can get permission to travel is with a "yellow ticket," which identifies her as a prostitute. In St. Petersburg she learns that her father
has died, but while in the city, she falls in love with Olivier, a British journalist. After hearing her story, he writes a number of articles for British and American newspapers that expose the oppressed condition of the Russian people under the Czar's rule. When Barrymore, the chief of the
Czar's secret police, becomes aware of Olivier's articles, he tries to imprison the scribe. Barrymore's primary objective, however, is to get Landi in bed, and when he tries, she kills him. As Austria invades the country, the lovers escape to England. The Lionel Barrymore role had been performed
by his brother John in the stage play that provided the basis for this film and the 1918 Pathe silent of the same name, which starred Milton Sills and Fanny Ward. Though Giacomo Puccini doesn't figure in the writing credits, the plot owes more than a little to his opera La Tosca.
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