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The Greatest Question (1919)

 -  Drama  -  28 December 1919 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 496 users  
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An orphan girl is given shelter by a farm family, but soon finds herself in the clutches of a murderous farmer and his wife.

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Nellie Jarvis
...
Jimmie Hilton
Ralph Graves ...
John Hilton Jr.
Eugenie Besserer ...
Mrs. Hilton
George Fawcett ...
Mr. Hilton
Tom Wilson ...
Uncle Zeke
George Nichols ...
Martin Cain
Josephine Crowell ...
Mrs. Cain
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Katherine Albert
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Storyline

An orphan girl is given shelter by a farm family, but soon finds herself in the clutches of a murderous farmer and his wife.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

religion | based on novel | See All (2) »

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

Release Date:

28 December 1919 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El mayor problema  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(tinted)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Connections

References The Birth of a Nation (1915) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Proof that Griffith just couldn't change with the times.
14 September 2014 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

In the mid-1910s, D.W. Griffith was a HUGE name in Hollywood and was considered one of the top talents in the industry. By the time he made this film, however, his cache had started to fade a bit. And, by 1930, he was all but unemployable. What happened with this outstanding film pioneer? Well, I think there were two serious problems. First, he didn't change with the times. His saccharine and very old fashioned types of stories worked just fine in 1915 but by the 1920s, they seemed dated. Second, the films were often very, very moralistic--with messages that lacked subtlety. In the case of this film, it's especially apparent with the intertitle cards. Instead of conveying the action or explaining what was occurring, too often they were filled with long-winded prose and preachy sentimentality. And, in typical Griffith fashion, the black man in the film is not only a negative stereotype but is played by a white guy using burnt cork to darken his features! It seems that Griffith just disliked blacks but needed SOMEONE to make them look awful, so he used some white guy! Top that off with some seriously dumb plot problems and you might understand why I scored this film so low.

Nellie is a little girl and witnesses a pair of maniacs murdering a lady. She tells her parents and they totally ignore her. This happens in the film but in real life, only certifiably insane parents would ignore her. A decade passes. Now Nellie's parents have died and she wanders back to the same country where the murder occurred years ago. Why would she move there of all places and how could she forget about the killing? What's worse, eventually she goes to work for the murderers and has no recollection that they were the killers!!! If any of this makes sense to you (and it shouldn't), then there's the plot involving the son killed in WWI and the stupid way that this is handled (with mom, thousands of miles away, INSTANTLY knowing he's dead and receiving visions of his!). Please...give me a break! This is all stupid and sentimental claptrap....and I never bought any of it. Had this been made in 1905 or so, I could have accepted it. But for more discerning and sophisticated audiences of 1919, it must have been a hard-sell. For me today, it was an impossible sell though I must admit that the cinematography was quite lovely.


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