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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 3,366 users  
Reviews: 43 user | 22 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

Robert Harron, a D.W. Griffith regular, shot himself under mysterious circumstances after the world premiere of this film in New York City. Harron, whom Griffith was grooming as a film director, was reportedly despondent over losing the leading man roles in both this film and Broken Blossoms or The Yellow Man and the Girl (1919) to Richard Barthelmess, formerly an juvenile lead in Dorothy Gish comedies. Although according to Lillian Gish, Harron on his deathbed denied that he had attempted suicide, it is still unclear whether the shooting was a deliberate suicide attempt or accidental. See more »

Quotes

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

Absorbing film
13 November 2002 | by See all my reviews

This is one of my favourite silents. You can really sympathize with Lillian's character -- in fact, some of the themes are still relevant today such as the sexual double standard women face. Squire Bartlett was giving Lillian a hard time because he knew nothing of her family background when she came to him to find employment -- yet, had it been a man, the Squire would respect the man's right to privacy regarding his private life.

Lillian's acting is great. To me the true judgement of a silent film's effectiveness is the ability to stir up emotions in viewers just by watching the actor's face and body movements. Lillian achieves this beautifully. I think if this were a talkie the effect would have been less.

Overall, this is a great film but a bit long in some parts. For example, that Perkins woman (with the ringlets) was quite annoying and the film sometimes focused a little too much on her antics. I give it a 9 out of 10.


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