A wealthy young Southern aristocrat, Joseph, graduates from a seminary and, before he takes charge of his assigned parish, decides to go out and see what "the real world" is all about. He ... See full summary »
A wealthy young Southern aristocrat, Joseph, graduates from a seminary and, before he takes charge of his assigned parish, decides to go out and see what "the real world" is all about. He winds up in New Orleans and finds himself attracted to a poor, unsophisticated orphan girl, Bessie. One thing leads to another, and before long Bessie finds that she is pregnant with Joseph's child. Written by
Uneven Marsh performance in sentimental Griffith tear-jerker
Mae Marsh, let's face it, was a homely woman. Her face can simply not transform itself into anything other than "waif" roles. Here she gives an uneven performance - in the first half of the film she is beneath contempt - just awful - one of the worst pieces of film acting ever - her facial expressions are ludicrous and her attempts at being a modern vamp give the impression that she is suffering from an attack of St. Vitus Dance. Once her lover leaves her and all she can do is "suffer" as an unwed mother, she is restrained and quite fine. Ivor Novello is beautiful as the young minister who leads her astray and then repents. It's about all he can do, stand around looking beautiful and sensitive, but he does it very well. The use of Caucasian actors in black face may offend some, but it was standard for its day. The melodramatic coincidences of the plot are completely unbelievable but since we know we are not in a realistic world, we can adjust easily. Griffith puts his players through their paces with the sure hand of a master storyteller. It's actually quite an enjoyable little film if one can get over Marsh's eccentricities in the first half.
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