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Charles Hill Mailes
During the Civil War a young soldier loses his nerve in battle and runs away to his home to hide; his sister puts on his uniform, takes her brother's place in the battle, and is killed. Their mother, not wanting the shameful truth to become known, closes all the shutters (hence the film's title) and keeps her son's presence a secret for many years, though two boyhood chums stumble upon the truth... Written by
Peter W. Many, Jr. (PMSusana)
Henry B. Walthall plays a Confederate solder who is sent on a mission by General Lee but he soon turns coward and returns home. Fearing the family name being disgraced, his sister (Dorothy West) takes his place and delivers the message but she is then killed. The mother then closes up the house so that their secret will not get out. This is a rather strange Civil War short from Griffith because the story is pretty wild but there's still a lot of power here. I'd be lying if I said I knew what Griffith was trying to get across here, although there's no doubt that the word coward is looked at very strongly. I'm not sure if he wanted women of the war to get more respect than they did but there's also another side to a family's shame and what they'll do to keep their name clean. The film benefits from some very strong performances with Walthall leading the way. His scenes of turning coward are very powerful as are the moments with West taking over and fighting. Grace Henderson is good as the mother and Charles West appears as well. The cinematography is once again top-notch as is the one battle sequence.
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