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Its power lies in its subtle suggestion

Author: deickemeyer from Chicago
11 January 2015

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

When this house undertakes the development of a heart subject it never fails in its purpose. In the acting of the capable company there is a quality which appeals irresistibly to all persons, whether young or old. In a drama like this, where personal sacrifice is the theme and where the heart is laid bare, one acquires a comprehension of some of the uncontrollable influences of human action which weave tangled skeins in a good many lives. When a brother sacrifices his own happiness because he believes he is benefiting the woman he loves, one is ready to applaud him for his unselfish act; but the years roll away, and when he holds the dead body of the same woman in his arms it is understood how futile has been his sacrifice and why one should never condone a wrong. The drama is beyond description. Its power lies in its subtle suggestion, rather than in the open illustration and development of the theme. Like most of the Biograph dramas, it depends more upon the acting than the action; and yet it is sufficiently powerful to hold the attention of the audience unbroken from beginning to end. It tells a heart story in such a convincing way that he who sees is forced to enter into it because a chord in his own heart is touched. He sees in the picture a reproduction of something that might occur in his own case, and his very spirit is chastened by its influence. Technically the picture is quite up to the Biograph standard, with its strong tones, speaking vigorously from the screen. Staging and accessories are alike satisfactory and pleasing. One must admit that the subject is depressing, but it is strong and its influence is for good. - The Moving Picture World, October 30, 1909

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The Light Within

Author: Single-Black-Male from London, England
23 December 2003

You could say that Griffith was certainly a better director than he was an actor because he was able to bring out the light within each actor in their role. Rather than relying on title cards and air bubbles, Griffith wanted his characters to have an inner life exploited by the close-up.

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