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Melodrama 101 from D.W.
Michael_Elliott22 January 2010
In Life's Cycle (1910)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Fair melodrama about a father (George Nichols) who makes his kids promise not to forget their mother who recently passed. As adults, the son (Henry B. Walthall) goes to become a priest while the daughter (Stephanie Longfellow) runs off with a bad man and soon finds herself in trouble. The son keeps his promise of visiting the grave of his mother but the daughter doesn't follow suit. This isn't the best film to come from Griffith but it at least features some pretty good performances with Walthall leading the way. He manages to pass off emotions without ever going over the top and he really manages to put in a lot of heart to the character. Nichols also manages to be pretty good in his part as is Charles West in a supporting bit. Longfellow on the other hand is pretty forgettable in the role of the daughter and this does bring the film down a few notches considering she has perhaps the most important part here. Fans of the director will want to look quickly for his first wife in a small role. Griffith handles the material quite well as its nothing he wasn't use to but the screenplay really isn't all that special and there's not enough backbone to back up all the preaching.
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Its influence cannot be shaken off
deickemeyer28 August 2015
The story of two partially orphaned children, brought up by their father, after the death of their mother. The boy turns out all right, but the girl, not knowing the machinations of men, elopes with a city man and for ten long years suffers the consequence of her folly. At last, the tempter being dead, she returns to her mother's grave, where she is found by her brother, and they are all once more united in their father's arms. It is not a pleasant story, yet it undoubtedly presents a phase of life which, in modifications, is more or less common. One doesn't care to dwell upon it, yet so well is it acted and so strongly does it appeal to one, that its influence cannot be shaken off. It lingers, regardless of the knowledge that it is only a picture. Perhaps it will teach its lesson. It is strong enough to do it without any question. - The Moving Picture World, October 1, 1910
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