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Enoch Arden: Part I (1911)

 -  Short | Drama  -  12 June 1911 (USA)
6.3
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Enoch Arden, a humble fisherman, marries Annie Lee. He signs on as a sailor to make more money to support their growing family. A storm wrecks his ship, but Enoch swims to a deserted island... See full summary »

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Title: Enoch Arden: Part I (1911)

Enoch Arden: Part I (1911) on IMDb 6.3/10

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Cast

Credited cast:
Wilfred Lucas ...
Enoch Arden
Linda Arvidson ...
Annie Lee
Francis J. Grandon ...
Philip Ray
George Nichols ...
The Captain
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Edward Dillon
Joseph Graybill ...
A Shipwrecked Sailor
Grace Henderson
Florence Lee ...
On the Beach
Jeanie Macpherson ...
On the Beach
Alfred Paget ...
A Shipwrecked Sailor
...
On the Beach
Edit

Storyline

Enoch Arden, a humble fisherman, marries Annie Lee. He signs on as a sailor to make more money to support their growing family. A storm wrecks his ship, but Enoch swims to a deserted island. Annie waits vainly for his return. Written by Anonymous

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Short | Drama

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Release Date:

12 June 1911 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Trivia

Griffith made this film and Enoch Arden: Part II (1911) together as a two-reeler, a first for an American studio. Biograph refused to release the two reels for the admission price of one. (Studio heads believed patrons wouldn't pay extra to see longer movies.) They released the film as two separate one-reelers, a common practice at the time. However, other two-part films were made as separate stories that stood alone. Audiences who saw the two parts of "Enoch Arden" could tell it was really one movie. They asked to see the two reels together. Exhibitors complied, charging double admission. Soon, all the studios were making two-reelers at increased prices. See more »

Connections

Version of After Many Years (1908) See more »

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User Reviews

 
"Even to the last dip of the vanishing sail"
9 July 2008 | by (Ruritania) – See all my reviews

Even though Biograph would limit him to one-reelers, DW Griffith had ambitions to move on to longer films. Once or twice before this he had followed a short up with a sequel to be released a week later, but this is his first genuine two-parter, making a full, coherent story. Although Biograph insisted it be released as two shorts, many theatre owners cottoned on and showed it as one film.

Wisely, Griffith chose to expand upon a story he had made a loose adaptation of before, Enoch Arden having been the inspiration for 1910's The Unchanging Sea. Covering a lengthy timescale, the material is also perfectly suited to a longer running time.

Griffith clearly realised that if cinema was going to flourish as a serious and unique storytelling medium, it would not only have to develop in how it conveyed information visually, but also become more subtle and naturalistic. Around the time of Enoch Arden he was really striving to perfect this, and the two parts are like a showcase for everything he had developed so far.

Griffith opens by introducing each of the three main characters with a single title revealing their name only, followed by a shot for each which serves as a brief yet meaningful introduction. Then, without resorting to another title card, he sets up the love triangle with just some careful positioning of the three actors we have just met. This economy of expression would later be taken up and developed by Cecil B. DeMille and John Ford. The use of props by actors to reveal character or emotion is also beginning to develop. In the scene where Annie Lee watches Enoch's boat disappear over the horizon, she stops to wipe the lens of the spyglass – perhaps to see the boat clearer, perhaps also to wipe away a tear.

Griffith was also beginning to develop the emotional impact of his camera work. He had around this time been experimenting by throwing in the occasional functional close-up to clarify an object or action. Here however, in the scene where Annie gives Enoch the baby's curl, he briefly moves the camera closer to the actors. The close-up is not to explain the action, it is to draw the audience into it and makes us involved in this poignant moment. This is a really important breakthrough.

Please see also my comment for Enoch Arden Part II.


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