Claire MacDowell gets engaged to Joseph Graybill because he is a millionaire and her parents have been living well beyond their means. However, on a summer trip to the shore, she meets and falls in love with Wilfred Lucas, a common sailor who walks around in his undershirt. Will she marry Graybill, or throw her parents to the creditor? D.W. Griffith knew his audience. He had spent most of his career touring in melodrama until he chanced upon the movies, and he knew that the people who saw his flicks, who paid for his career, were poor people,not rich folk. He gave them what they wanted in the way of stories like this one.
Technically, Griffith uses the sea as a metaphor for reality. He liked to shoot the waves rippling across the background, and he does it here. There is also a long sequence at a party in which Griffith showed his skill -- in 1911, still a mystery to most movie makers -- in group dynamics on screen. The result is a competent picture with a bit of an unlikely plot -- albeit a popular one.
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