The Wanderer (1913) Poster

(II) (1913)

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The picture is only art, not life
deickemeyer3 September 2017
A mystery picture, like "The Top Floor Back," or "Annie Climbs Upstairs," or "Little Sunbeam," but unlike the latter, it has no real characters. The "wanderer" is a strolling musician whose artistic soul longs for the perfect note. The effect of his self- sacrificing life, symbolized in the influence of his music when heard by evildoers as it passes below, like Pippa, in Browning's poem, links two or three human lives together; but not at all dramatically. Henry Walthall is the musician, outcast like the true artist, and he marries Mae Marsh, who is woman and therefore also outcast. Of course, we, in our statement, are cruder than the picture, as the mind is cruder than the soul. Besides these, there are Lionel Barrymore and Claire McDowell, a couple in trouble who also overhear the strains. This gives Miss McDowell a chance to become a most truly tragic heroine, but no chance to become a personality. We have used mush space to say merely this. The picture is only art, not life. It stands on its scenes and they are fine. The photography is not as good as it should have been. - The Moving Picture World, May 17, 1913
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Decent But Missing Something
Michael_Elliott22 January 2011
Wanderer, The (1913)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

Director Griffith often didn't like using title cards and sometimes this caused his films to be rather hard to follow. I believe this film is based on the poem of the same name as a man (Henry B. Walthall) sees his only love die so he heads off into the world where he finds nothing but loneliness and more heartache as people around him pay him no attention. This changes when he meets a woman who offers him food when he's starving and he eventually gets a chance to pay her back. This short from the director's final days before turning to features isn't all that bad but at the same time it seems to be lacking a lot of story and as I previously said it's sometime hard to follow exactly what's going on. I think the moral of the story is to be kind to people, which is something the director would preach countless times in his days at Biograph. I think what works best here is the performance by Walthall who has no trouble making us feel sorry for his character because you can actually feel how hurt the guy is simply by looking in the actor's eyes. Walthall certainly makes the film what it is as he gives it its power and emotion. Fans of Lionel Barrymore will get to see him in action here as well as Mae Marsh, Charles West and Harry Carey in a brief bit.
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