Everything’s Quite Lovely in “Way Down East” – By Mae Tinee (Chicago Tribune – 1920)
Everything’s Quite Lovely in “Way Down East” – By Mae Tinee (Chicago Tribune – 1920)
Chicago Tribune – Wednesday, December 15, 1920 Page 28
Everything’s Quite Lovely in D.W.’s Latest
“Way Down East”
Produced by D.W. Griffith
Presented at Wood’s Theater
Anna Moore ………….…………………… Lillian Gish
Her Mother ……….……………. Mrs. David Landau
Mrs. Tremont ………..………… Josephine Bernard
Diana Tremont ……….….. Mrs. Morgan Belmont
Her Sister ……………………..……….. Patricia Fruen
The Eccentric Aunt ………………… Florence Short
Lennox Sanderson …….…………. Lowell Sherman
Squire Bartlett …………………..…… Burr McIntosh
Mrs. Bartlett …………………………..……. Kate Bruce
David Bartlett ……..………… Richard Barthelmess
Martha Perkins ………………………….. Vivia Ogden
Seth Holcomb ………….………………. Porter Strong
Reuben Whipple …………….………. George Neville
Hi Holler …………………..……………… Edgar Nelson
Kate Brewster …………..…………………… Mary Hay
Professor Sterling ………….….……. Creighton Hale
Maria Poole ………………..…….……… Emily Fitzroy
By Mae Tinee
“Way Down East,” as elaborated by David Wark Griffith from the stage play by Lottie Blair Parker, as personally supervised by Mr. Griffith, and as presented under the special direction of Mr. Griffith at Woods theater, which does not happen to belong to Mr. Griffith, is a vurr’ good movie.
Personally, I think “The Miracle Man” was better. I enjoyed “Dinty” more. But “Way Down East” ranks with the best sellers because it deserves to.
Where Mr. Griffith falls down is on the time limit. The average movie fan can do nicely without intermissions and would prefer to see his picture and have done with it. Which doesn’t mean that he doesn’t appreciate the picture. But these be busy days, and from 2:25 – they didn’t begin the matinee on time yesterday – until 4:55 is too long to keep you guessing how anything’s going to end. Isn’t it?
As the old, old story of the innocent girl betrayed through a mock ceremony unreels it reveals much beautiful scenery, much fine acting, and the kind of photography and arrangement for which Griffith is famous. Note the kinemacolor effects, etc. The music is fine. The projection is splendid.
Lillian Gish does the best work of her life so far this time. She keeps you with her from start to finish. You are sick with pity for her as you watch her rocking her dead and nameless baby in the lone hours of the night, trying to warm the cold little hands at her breast. ***
Lowell Sherman as the betrayer is a convincing cuss. Conspiring against virginity, he goes on his dastardly way in a constant state of either susceptibility or satiation.
Richard Barthelmess, nice, clean young chap that he is, always pleases in the role of the man who loves one true, and his perfectly new bride, Mary Hay, in a minor role, imps through the film in a boyish fashion that’s mighty taking.
All the character parts are remarkably well taken. You will get much joy from the village gossip, a simpering, moth eaten trouble maker, as portrayed by Vivia Ogden.
Mrs. Morgan Belmont merely walks on and off, sits down and gets up a few times, but she does it nicely.
And that’s about all, I think. Except to say that the audience had a wonderful time during the blizzard, when Mr. Barthelmess at the risk of life and limb saves his trampled lily from the ice break. Here’s where the picture becomes real, honest to goodness “mellerdrammer” and eats itself up!
*** Admin note: Article above is treating very superficially this masterpiece of the screen. For example Anna Moore’s “nameless dead baby” was baptized Trust Lennox by Lillian Gish in a memorable ceremony that was various journalists subject for years, praised by critics. As for the duration of this film, in modern super productions like 50’s Ben Hur, Gone With The Wind, War and Peace and others, intermission and two hours plus duration is common. This proves once again the genius and future vision of D.W. Griffith.
“Griffith, who was the first to develop the cinema as an epic art, was also, in effect, an American Impressionist who used the camera to capture the natural landscape. One of the two main visual tropes I identify with Griffith is the wind in the leaves, of which there’s plenty in “Way Down East.” Like the French Impressionists, Griffith was also devoted to portraiture, or the inner landscape. Though he didn’t literally invent the close-up, he developed it as a crucial aspect of cinematic grammar, and, artistically, conjured from it an extraordinary range and depth of emotion—not least because of his great actress, Lillian Gish, whose face is the center of this movie. Griffith’s Homeric artistry and his painterly insight—his view of the conflict between nature’s horrors (those of a blizzard and those found in the hearts of predators) and its glories (the peaceful landscape and the heart of true virtue)—come to full flower in “Way Down East.” (Richard Brody – The New Yorker)
“There is something splendidly audacious about the big undertakings of Griffith, about every one ol them. He is a very canny combination of showman and artist ; He knows pretty well what type of thing will catch and hold the public interest at any given time, and I have a shrewd idea : that he had his hand on the pulse of the movie – going public when he chose this vehicle for the first of his new series, and decided to “go the limit ” on it. So, without having seen a foot of the finished film, I shall venture one more prophecy that Way Down East in its revival on the screen will repeat the wonderful record which it made on the stage two decades ago.” (Charles Gatchell – The Picturegoer – September 1921)
“Mr. Griffith could be depended upon for bringing out the full pathos of Anna’s tragedy. His genius for this sort of thing has always been great. And, as usual, he has had the advantage of Miss Lillian Gish’s unlimited cooperation. It is a truly astonishing thing about this young artist that one can always say that her latest work is her best. One wonders how high she can still climb on the ladder of superb screen acting. Or perhaps it is a question of how far Mr. Griffith and Miss Gish could go together, for it is often impossible to tell in their work where direction ends and interpretation begins. The rest of Mr. Griffith’s cast is, as usual, well balanced, and shows some fine individual work. Mr. Griffith cannot touch any story without putting his stamp upon it. His version of Way Down East will travel far and long. When it has travelled long enough he may perhaps again find courage to try his hand at another Broken Blossoms.” (Exceptional Photoplays, No. 2 (December 1920), page 3.)”
When Mamaroneck Upstaged Hollywood – By Bruce Berman (The New York Times – June 19, 1977) When Mamaroneck Upstaged Hollywood By Bruce Berman The New York Times – June 19, 1977 BACK in the early 1920’s when Mamaroneck was a center of movie‐making, Joseph Rigano was an employee of D.W. Grif fith’s studio at Orienta. “I was atone mason and mechanic,” the energetic 80year‐old said as we toured on foot Edgewater Point, at the top of the Orienta Peninsula. Griffith Studios, Orienta Point, Mamaroneck NY 1921 “After the studio was finally built, Mr. Griffith asked me to stay on as a set builder. Stone fireplaces were my specialty, but I worked on everything from Gothic walls to painted desert backdrops. The actors were almost always friendly, and I was getting $55 a week and drove a $1,200 Buick. What more could a young man desire?” DW Griffith filming team – Mamaroneck NY – Way Down East In those days the area was less the “East Coast Hollywood” than Hollywood was “the West Co
Portrait of Lillian Gish and Mother 1920 Nell Dorr Errata: Amon Carter Museum description "Lillian Gish and an elderly woman in lace"; The Movies, Mr.Griffith and Me description of this photo session - "with Mother"
The Movie Magazines and Lillian Gish … The moving Picture World 1914 detail The moving Picture World 1914 The moving Picture World 1914 detail Moving Picture World, November 21, 1914 Her Awakening – Lillian Gish The Angel of Contention Poster The moving Picture World – Mutual Program – A Question of Courage names wrong Lillian Gish And Dorothy The moving Picture World – Mutual Program – The Sisters The Birth of a Nation (David W. Griffith Corp., 1915). Herald2 Sold for Marriage Triangle Plays Program 1916 lillian_gish_photoplay_1917 08 ID Photo Back to Lillian Gish Home page Photoplay, August, 1918 – Dorothy and Lillian Gish in their dressing room Lillian Gish Photoplay August 1918 Lillian Gish Photoplay February 1919 Lillian Gish Photoplay, July, 1919 Back to Lillian Gish Home page Lillian Gish Photoplay October 1920 Orphans of The Storm Prog Herald 1921 Lillian Gish 1921 – The Girl Back Home Motion Picture Classic Magazine (Brewster, 1921) The Lily Maid from Ohio Ph