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The Greatest Question (1919)

An orphan girl is given shelter by a farm family, but soon finds herself in the clutches of a murderous farmer and his wife.

Director:

D.W. Griffith

Writers:

William Hale (novel), Stanner E.V. Taylor
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Cast

Credited cast:
Lillian Gish ... Nellie Jarvis
Robert Harron ... Jimmie Hilton
Ralph Graves ... John Hilton Jr.
Eugenie Besserer ... Mrs. Hilton
George Fawcett ... Mr. Hilton
Tom Wilson ... Uncle Zeke
George Nichols ... Martin Cain
Josephine Crowell ... Mrs. Cain
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Katherine Albert Katherine Albert
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Storyline

An orphan girl is given shelter by a farm family, but soon finds herself in the clutches of a murderous farmer and his wife.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

religion | based on novel | See All (2) »

Taglines:

Plays on the emotions of men and women like an inspired musician on a harp (Print Ad- Washington Herald, ((Washington D.C.)) 11 January 1920)

Genres:

Drama

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Did You Know?

Crazy Credits

Note - Anyone advertising a picture as a Griffith production without the name "Griffith" and trademark "DG" on each film is guilty of fraudulent advertising. See more »

Connections

References The Birth of a Nation (1915) See more »

User Reviews

 
Ludicrous Griffith Melodrama, Definitely one of His Lesser Films
30 December 2015 | by HarlowMGMSee all my reviews

"The Greatest Question" seems quite damning evidence for D. W. Griffith's detractors and their charges of overrated directing skills and his handling of minority characters. Lillian Gish is lovely in this but this is one of her less empathic Griffith heroines. Best known as Robert Harron's final film, his role isn't much and it's one of his least memorable performances. Ralph Graves is wasted in a bit part as his brother. Edward Wagenknecht tears into Josephine Crowell for overacting in THE FILMS OF D W GRIFFITH but I found her a believable if psychotic villainess, on the other hand Mama of the boys, Eugenie Besserer really chews the scenery on occasion and her slatternly husband (George Fawcett) is rather creepy but of course not as much as a the perv Crowell's married to (George Nichols) who lusts after underage Lil and earlier killed another young girl (witnessed by Gish's character as a child). Griffith's handling of concurrent scenes at different locations is just horrendous, worse than the most hackneyed silent serial and the scene with Besserer and Graves at the graveyard is just weird and poorly staged (most unusual is the mix of Christian fundamentalism and spiritualism though apparently not that uncommon in the late 19th and very early 20th century). The pastoral setting is lovely though, too bad it wasn't used for a genuine romance instead of this absurd little melodrama.


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 December 1919 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El mayor problema See more »

Filming Locations:

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Color:

Black and White (tinted)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

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