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Way Down East (1920)

Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 3 September 1920 (USA)
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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(from the play by), (play) (as Wm. A. Brady) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
...
Mrs. David Landau ...
...
...
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
...
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)
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Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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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

Title Card: Knowing only Anna's blameless life among them, David thrilled with the thought that she is the virginal white flower of his dreams.
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Connections

Featured in Precious Images (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Griffith knew his stuff
4 December 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I just finished watching Way Down East. It was extremely powerful and moving. Gish is at her best, and while she may take getting used to if you've never seen her before, because she is a bit twittery, she is also a unique beauty with enormously expressive eyes and nervous mannerisms that make her perfect in this role as the poor innocent done wrong by the sophisticated older man. Like they say, the story's as old as the hills, and I was surprised but pleased at the happy ending, considering she had a baby out of wedlock--usually women were punished in the old films, even if it wasn't their fault. Little things like Richard Barthelmess petting a pigeon on the head, blossoms bouncing gently in the breeze, the play of light at sunset through Gish's hair as she stands by the river.... There's an appreciation of the beauty of nature and the gentle aspects of the human soul that's not much seen anymore. Just watching the men haying in the fields, the old barn dance, a horse and sled heading down a long avenue of tall trees is a pleasure, a record of days gone by that we don't get much chance to see anywhere else. Of course Gish floating down the river on the ice in the denouement is a classic. I highly recommend this film to any sensitive movie-lover.


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