|Index||4 reviews in total|
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A strongly dramatic picture, yet not altogether pleasant. A love story representing a man sorely deceived, and after an accident depriving him of sight and hearing cruelly deserted by his wife. Then she is induced to come back as the bandages are removed from his partially restored eyes so he may not know the truth. The climax, when the former wife pulls down the curtain and lets in the blinding flash that destroys the partially restored sight forever, is not pleasant, and yet it adds a strong ending to the play. Acted with the ability shown by the Biograph players, this picture will be popular, even though disagreeable, because it arouses the emotions. No matter if they are depressing, the fact that the emotions are stirred is sufficient to make the film popular. - The Moving Picture World, July 30, 1910
Although the leads in this Griffith melodrama about a chemist who
blinds himself in an accident, causing his society wife to abandon him
for a theatrical career, leaving her elder sister to take care of him,
is led by members of Griffith's company who never achieved much for
him, they did all right elsewhere. The large supporting cast is filled
with his usual skilled crew -- if you look, you can spot Mack Sennett
in a small role at one of the parties.
Although the wife is the villain of the piece -- terrible woman going onto the stage! -- Griffith raises some interesting and telling questions about then-current attitudes towards divorce. Given the difference in the couple's characters when they marry, should she stay with him after his blindness? Yes, the acting is noticeably below the standards of Griffith's usual leads, but the story is worth telling and the question is worth asking. Have we answered it any better a century later?
Flash of Light, A (1910)
*** (out of 4)
Pleasant melodrama from Griffith about a young chemist (Charles West) who has an experiment blow up in his face, which leaves him blind. His new wife doesn't like being burdened with him so she runs off and leaves her younger sister to take care of him. This isn't the best Griffith short out there but he manages to tell the story in a way that will keep you entertained even if that story is rather silly and far fetched. The biggest problem are all the plot twists that has the younger sister taking over the role of the older one and how the husband, even blind, would fall for this doesn't really work nor does the ending and the twist that happens here. Griffith, as usual, knows how to pour the drama on thick and for the most part he does a nice job keeping everything under control and his points about marriage are easy to spot and he doesn't spend too much time preaching here. What does hurt the movie are the leads who aren't the best people Griffith had available and there's even more proof as Mack Sennett, Mary Pickford, Dorothy West and Blanche Sweet also have minor roles here.
This wild melodrama has every emotional and narrative stop pulled. It engages with the issue of the ideal wife in an era of successive divorces. The flash of light is basically in the climatic scene when the doctor pulls down the curtain which returns blindness to our protagonist (Charles West).
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