(Review originally written at 1 March 2007)

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When the young country girl Anna Moore, played by early big movie star Lillian Gish, for the first time goes to the big 'moder'n town, things go from bad to worse for her. She gets tricked into a fake marriage, gets pregnant, her fake husband leaves her, the baby dies, in other words, this is a melodramatic movie alright.

Lillian Gish definitely shines in this movie. I'm not her biggest fan, guess I'm more of a Mae Marsh person but I have to admit that she was totally great in this movie. The movie is filled with many more great and strong written and played characters, with also especially some great roles from Richard Barthelmess and Creighton Hale.

It was surprising to see how actually humor filled this movie was, despite its melodramatic undertone and story. D.W. Griffith also had comical moments in it but this movie is almost a comedy at times. Especially the middle is mostly filled purely with humor. Quite in contrast with the melodramatic beginning and spectacular ending. It certainly goes at the expense of the drama at times.

It's a well written movie, in which always something is happening. Especially the drama gets well developed and always keep things close to home, with real sensible emotions and feelings. It keeps both the characters and emotions always real, even when they're being over-the-top. It's also one of the many reasons why the ending works out so well.

Definitely true that the last 20 minutes, or so, are the reason why this is an absolute classic and memorable movie. The breaking ice sequence, with a drifting Lillian Gish heading towards a waterfall is probably better known than the actual movie itself.

The movie is great looking visually, with its sets and costumes but also with its camera-work and environments. The movie has some good looking establishment-shots, set in the beautiful nature.

Not among D.W. Griffith's best works but in 1920 perspective this is an absolutely brilliant- and also really enjoyable movie, nevertheless.


About Frank Veenstra

Watches movies...writes about them...and that's it for now.
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