Search This Blog

Friday, October 19, 2012

Way Down East (1920)

When a naive young country girl (Lillian Gish) goes to visit her rich city relatives, she is seduced and tricked into a fake marriage by a wealthy playboy (Lowell Sherman). When she becomes pregnant, he abandons her and when the baby dies, she finds work on the farm of a pious squire (Burr McIntosh) and catches the eye of the squire's son (Richard Barthelmess). But it is only a matter of time before her past catches up with her. Based on a popular late 19th century melodrama that was already outdated in 1920, the director D.W. Griffith transforms it into a quasi-feminist tale of double standards and redemption that suggests Thomas Hardy's TESS OF THE D'URBERVILLES. The great Lillian Gish gives a full tilt performance going from guileless maiden to devastated mother to outraged victim. The film's thrilling finale is legendary. Reputedly without a stuntwoman, Gish floats on a piece of ice as it rushes towards a waterfall to be rescued only seconds before the piece of ice she was on goes over the edge. With Creighton Hale, Mary Hay and Vivia Ogden, impressive as the town's simian faced gossip.

No comments:

Post a Comment