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Way Down East (1920)

 -  Drama | Romance  -  3 September 1920 (USA)
8.0
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 3,390 users  
Reviews: 43 user | 23 critic

A naive country girl is tricked into a sham marriage by a wealthy womanizer, then must rebuild her life despite the taint of having borne a child out of wedlock.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Mrs. David Landau ...
Lowell Sherman ...
Burr McIntosh ...
Josephine Bernard ...
Mrs. Emma Tremont
Mrs. Morgan Belmont ...
Diana Tremont
Patricia Fruen ...
Diana's Sister
Florence Short ...
The Eccentric Aunt
Kate Bruce ...
Mrs. Bartlett
Vivia Ogden ...
Porter Strong ...
George Neville ...
Constable Rube Whipple
Edgar Nelson ...
Mary Hay ...
Kate Brewster - the Squire's Niece
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Storyline

The callous rich, portrayed by Lennox, think only of their own pleasure. Anna is but a poor country girl whom Lennox tricks into a fake wedding. She believes that it is true, but secret, while he has his way with her. When she is pregnant, he leaves her and she must have the baby, named Trust Lennox, on her own. When the baby dies she wanders until she gets a job with Squire Bartlett. David falls for her, but she rejects him due to her past and then Lennox shows up lusting for Kate. Seeing Anna, he tries to get her to leave, but she doesn't, and she tells no one about his past. When Squire Bartlett learns of her past from Martha, the town gossip, he tosses Anna out in a snow storm. But before she goes, she fingers the respected Lennox, as the father of her dead baby and the spoiler of herself. Written by Tony Fontana <tony.fontana@spacebbs.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

A simple story for plain people.

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

Release Date:

3 September 1920 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mädchenlos  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$700,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (1931 re-release) | (Alpha Video)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Clarine Seymour, a regular player in D.W. Griffith's films at that time, was originally cast in the role of Kate, Squire Bartlett's niece and David Bartlett's fiancée. Seymour had actually completed most of her scenes when she fell ill from a strangulated intestine. She died on April 25, 1920, following emergency surgery. Griffith replaced Seymour in the role with dancer Mary Hay, who resembled Seymour in long shots. Although David Bartlett does not marry Kate in "Way Down East", Richard Barthelmess, who played David, later married Mary Hay. See more »

Quotes

Anna Moore: This man, an honored guest at your table, why don't you find out what HIS life has been?
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 43rd Annual Academy Awards (1971) See more »

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User Reviews

An Underappreciated masterpiece

This may be D.W. Griffiths greatest film, and that's saying a lot. Although his other works, such as The Birth of a Nation, Intolerance, and Broken Blossoms seem to be the most popular and acclaimed of his films, Way Down East is probably the most entertaining and compelling.

Not that any of Griffith's early films were bad, they're all great in there own way, but Way Down East is a film that anyone can watch. It may be the only one of D.W. Griffith's early films that isn't heavily dated in some way.

Lillian Gish gives, by far, her greatest performance, showing why she was the first truly great screen performer. The melodrama in this film could have been laughable and incredibly dated, but somehow, she makes it all seem so convincing.

Go ahead and watch Griffith's other films, but remember to watch Way Down East as well.


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