The Children Pay – By Anthony Slide – 1980


The Children Pay – By Anthony Slide – 1980

The kindergarten of the movies : a history of the Fine Arts Company

The Children Pay  – By Anthony Slide – 1980

Far more impressive is The Children Pay, directed by Lloyd Ingraham and scripted by Frank Woods. It is a simple story, told in that simple, straightforward fashion which Griffith had perfected at Biograph, and was to use to advantage later in True Heart Susie and A Romance of Happy Valley. The early scenes give Lillian Gish a superb opportunity to play a tomboy, firing a catapult, driving a soap box derby-type car and fighting with a boy outside the church and thus breaking up the service. In all this, she is aided and abetted by the delightful Violet Wilkey, who played Mae Marsh as a child in The Birth of a Nation.

The Children Pay – Lillian Gish

Of The Children Pay, Julian Johnson wrote in Photoplay (February 1917),

Here is the sanest, most humanly interesting five-reeler of the month, although in most of its episodes decidedly undramatic. It is such a story of drifting parents, an ever-widening domestic gulf, and the keen sorrows and quaint joys of a pair of little girls as you might expect from the pen of a young William Dean Howells. As a matter of fact, Frank E. Woods of Fine Arts wrote it, and there are deployed in its unrolling such redoubtable character persons as Ralph Lewis, Jennie Lee, Loyola O’Connor and Carl Stockdale. Miss O’Connor, as the demi-artist mother, provides a remarkable exhibit of self-satisfied selfishness, wholly different from the usual sympathetic vehicle accorded her. Lillian Gish plays Millicent, the oldest girl who is the focal center of all the activity. I have never seen Miss Gish draw a more real, interesting and believable young woman. She has literal pep and actual punch–two qualities which tradition says are extremely ungishy. There are those who say the final legal situation is impossible. I don’t know that the body of the play is a page of life, of which the screen shows far too little.

Excerpt from

  • A History of the Fine Arts Company by
  • Anthony Slide – 1980

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