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The Mother and the Law (1919)

A re-edited version of the 'modern' story from Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages (1916).

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
The Little Dear One
...
The Boy
...
The Friendless One
...
Miss Mary Jenkins
...
Arthur Jenkins
Clyde E. Hopkins ...
Jenkin's Secretary
F.A. Turner ...
The Girl's Father
...
The Musketeer of the Town
...
The Governor
Tom Wilson ...
The Kindly Heart
A.W. McClure ...
The Priest
...
The Judge
William Brown ...
The Warder
Max Davidson ...
The Kindly Neighbor
...
The Wife
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Storyline

Two young people are made homeless by a strike. They struggle valiantly to survive their desolate situation, which grows worse as reform-minded citizens remove the couple's child from their care and the young father is falsely accused and convicted of murder. Written by Jim Beaver <jumblejim@prodigy.net>

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strike | murder | marriage | slum | reform | See All (25) »

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A drama of human hearts

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Drama

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Release Date:

18 August 1919 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Anya és törvény  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Trivia

A print of this film survives in the UCLA Film and Television Archives. See more »

Connections

Edited from Intolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages (1916) See more »

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User Reviews

A Good Film But Not the Epic That Intolerance Was
28 November 2017 | by See all my reviews

The Mother and the Law (1919)

*** (out of 4)

A mill closes and forces The Little Dear One (Mae Marsh) and The Boy (Robert Harron) into a very difficult life. The two of them eventually find each other but the hard times continue.

D.W. Griffith was the grandest name in cinema after the huge success of THE BIRTH OF A NATION and he originally intended to follow that up with THE MOTHER AND THE LAW. He filmed the movie but felt it wasn't big enough to follow up on BIRTH so he added three additional stories and it would be released as INTOLERANCE. That film would struggle to find a big audience as most people in 1916 were confused by the inter-cutting stories. Flash-forward three years later and Griffith re-edited two of the stories and released them back into theaters.

THE MOTHER AND THE LAW was the "modern" story told in INTOLERANCE and here it is without all of the other footage and there are also a few new scenes added. I will flat out say that this isn't nearly as great as it was when it was mixed with the three other stories. On its own, INTOLERANCE is a flat out masterpiece and it very well could have been the greatest movie ever made. What made it so great was the fact that it was a true epic that told the story of intolerance among people and did so over four different stories. The way Griffith cut from one story to the next and then back and forth was something very new at the time, very much ground-breaking and it worked to perfection.

As it stands in this version, it's a good little film but it's far from being a masterpiece. I think Griffith was right that this melodrama wouldn't be "good enough" to follow THE BIRTH OF A NATION so I don't blame him for going back and adding more footage to it. I think the strongest point of this film is the fact that Marsh is simply wonderful as the rather tortured woman who finds everything she loves being ripped away from her. Harron was also good in his role as were the entire cast for that matter.

The highlight of the picture is certainly the final five-minutes as The Boy is about to be put to death and the perfect use of editing shows what made Griffith so special. Again, if you're going to watch any version it's best to go with the 1916 film INTOLERANCE. After you see that then you can check out THE MOTHER AND THE LAW to see how the story would have worked as originally intended and without the epic feel.


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