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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.



(from the play by), (play) (as Wm. A. Brady) | 2 more credits »

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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 ...
Vivia Ogden ...
Porter Strong ...
Seth Holcomb
George Neville ...
Constable Rube Whipple
Hi Holler
Mary Hay ...
Kate Brewster - the Squire's Niece


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


A simple story for plain people.


Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »



Release Date:

3 September 1920 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Mädchenlos  »


Box Office


$700,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


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

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Norma Shearer has a bit part in one scene. Shearer's mother and sister are extras as well, as is another future luminary of the talkies, Una Merkel. See more »


Martha Perkins: Roses in wintertime! Lan' sakes!
See more »


Featured in Hollywood (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

Gish Suffers Nobly
3 January 2006 | by See all my reviews

"Way Down East" will probably be a hard pill for many filmgoers to swallow, as it's a silent and very long, but I would recommend you give it a try, as it's also pretty entertaining.

Lillian Gish gets put through her melodramatic paces by the granddaddy of modern cinema, D.W. Griffith. Griffith was a master at building his movies up to intolerably exciting finales, and this film is no exception. A classic set piece puts Gish trying to escape across a frozen river, jumping from one drifting block of ice to the next. And consider that this was in the day before special effects, and it's even quite possible that Gish did all of the stunts herself.

A slice of early cinema that goes down easily if you give it the chance.

Grade: A-

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