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The Eternal Mother (1912)

 |  Short, Drama  |  11 January 1912 (USA)
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John and Mary divorce their spouses to marry each other. Mary dies after giving birth and the baby is taken in by John's first wife, Martha. She refuses all contact with John until many ... See full summary »



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Credited cast:
Edwin August ...
John, the Husband
Martha, the Wife
Mary, the Woman
Charles Hill Mailes ...
Mary's Father
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Kate Bruce ...
An Old Woman
In Field
Guy Hedlund ...
A Friend
J. Jiquel Lanoe ...
A Friend
Jeanie Macpherson ...
In Field


John and Mary divorce their spouses to marry each other. Mary dies after giving birth and the baby is taken in by John's first wife, Martha. She refuses all contact with John until many years later when he becomes ill and she finally forgives him for deserting her. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

menage a trois | melodrama | See All (2) »


Short | Drama





Release Date:

11 January 1912 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

La eterna madre  »

Filming Locations:

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

Tableux Style Filmmaking
14 February 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is an interesting experiment in filmmaking. It is just a series of shots illustrating a story told in the title cards. The shots contain very little action. They are almost illustrations or living tableaux. This type of style can be seen in the sequences that connect the different parts of Griffith's "Intolerance".

For me the most interesting part of the movie is watching 18 year old Mabel Normand play the black haired seductress stealing 16 year old Blanche Sweet's husband (Edwin August) from his blonde-haired child-like wife. Mabel plays it pretty subtly and pretty straight. Her death scene does have an unintentional laugh when she has an almost instantaneous death. One feels Griffith shouting from off-stage, "Okay, that's it, now she dies," and Mabel instantly responding by dropping dead. She remains in the frame for over a minute and one looks to see if she is still breathing, but she seems to be perfectly still. She was a great swimmer, so I assume that Griffith knew that she could hold her breathe for a long time.

The sexy bad girl role is an interesting contrast to the frenetic comedies that Mable played afterward that year when directed by Mack Sennett.

Anyway, the movie is interesting and shows a different side of Griffith. He was a master of action films, but also a master of inaction, as this film demonstrates.

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