Susie, a plain young country girl, secretly loves a neighbor boy, William. She believes in him and sacrifices much of her own happiness to promote his own ambitions, all without his ... See full summary »
An idealistic young American during World War I, itching to fight the Germans and not wanting to wait until the U. S. joined the war, journeys to Canada and enlists in the British army. He ... See full summary »
Jeannette Peret, daughter of a cigar-store owner, leaves her Greenwich Village home for France in hopes of finding there the love which eludes her at home. She becomes enamored of le Bebe, ... See full summary »
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Lydia Yeamans Titus,
The Stoneman family finds its friendship with the Camerons affected by the Civil War, both fighting in opposite armies. The development of the war in their lives plays through to Lincoln's assassination and the birth of the Ku Klux Klan.
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 <email@example.com>
The waterfall seen in long shot at the climax is Niagara Falls, a site unrelated to, and far from, where the ice floe rescue scenes were shot. See more »
Since the beginning of time man has been polygamous - even the saints of Biblical history - but the Son of Man gave a new thought, and the world is growing nearer the true ideal. He gave of One Man for One Woman.
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Pretty Good Melodrama Made Memorable By A Tremendous Climax
What would otherwise be a pretty good, if old-fashioned, melodrama is made memorable by a climax that still holds up decades later as one of the most exciting scenes on film. The movie as a whole is imperfect - it's a bit too long, and is occasionally preachy - but it fits together well, and is a deserving classic of the silent film era.
The story is openly moralistic, and would not have worked without good characters and acting. Lillian Gish is deservedly remembered for her role, but Lowell Sherman is also important as the oily Sanderson - his understated performance makes his villainy more effective, and balances out the parts of the movie that are more heavy-handed (the title cards, in particular, leave no doubt as to how the director feels). The story ends up working pretty well in the context of its era.
What really stands out, of course, is its terrific climax on the river, still justifiably praised after all these years. Carefully conceived and beautifully photographed, it is a most effective way to wind up the story. The riveting drama and the stark beauty of the scenery make a great combination that you won't forget.
This would have been even better if it had been maybe 30 minutes shorter. Some scenes go on longer than necessary, and there is a lot of filler material about the townspeople - mildly amusing, and comic relief from a heavy story, but the comedy is not exactly of Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin quality, and a bit less would have been better. Still, the majority of the time the film does keep your attention.
"Way Down East" is a classic in spite of its flaws, one that every silent film fan will want to see. And it also would be worth watching for the climactic sequence alone, for anyone who appreciates quality cinema.
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