7.8/10
4,509
49 user 26 critic

Way Down East (1920)

Passed | | 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.

Director:

D.W. Griffith

Writers:

Lottie Blair Parker (from the play by), William A. Brady (play) (as Wm. A. Brady) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lillian Gish ... Anna Moore
Richard Barthelmess ... David Bartlett
Mrs. David Landau Mrs. David Landau ... Anna Moore's Mother
Lowell Sherman ... Lennox Sanderson
Burr McIntosh ... Squire Bartlett
Josephine Bernard Josephine Bernard ... Mrs. Emma Tremont
Mrs. Morgan Belmont Mrs. Morgan Belmont ... Diana Tremont
Patricia Fruen Patricia Fruen ... Diana's Sister
Florence Short Florence Short ... The Eccentric Aunt
Kate Bruce ... Mrs. Bartlett
Vivia Ogden Vivia Ogden ... Martha Perkins
Porter Strong Porter Strong ... Seth Holcomb
George Neville George Neville ... Constable Rube Whipple
Edgar Nelson ... Hi Holler
Mary Hay Mary Hay ... Kate Brewster - the Squire's Niece
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

A story of laughter- Rabelaisian horseplay. (Print Ad- Urbana Daily Democrat, ((Urbana, Ohio)) 5 December 1921) See more »

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

USA

Release Date:

3 September 1920 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mädchenlos See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$700,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$4,500,000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

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

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The scene with Anna lying unconscious on the ice floe, floating toward the waterfall, was developed solely for this film version. The scene appears in neither the venerable stage play credited to Lottie Blair Parker, nor the novel "elaboration" by Joseph R. Grismer, published in 1900. The scene in the film was apparently inspired by the success of the "Perils of Pauline" series of "cliffhanger" film shorts starring Pearl White, and was written and filmed to augment the film's box-office appeal. See more »

Goofs

Around the 1 hr and 38 minute mark, Martha visits the Squire and encounters Anna at the door. She enters the room and gives Anna a disapproving look. Behind Anna is the door. When the view changes to a long shot of the room, Martha is still engaging with Anna, but now both are to the left of the door instead of standing in front of it. See more »

Quotes

Maria Poole - Landlady: Everybody is talking about you having no husband - I guess you'll have to leave.
See more »

Connections

Featured in Visions of Light (1992) See more »

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User Reviews

Absorbing film
13 November 2002 | by cz639See all my reviews

This is one of my favourite silents. You can really sympathize with Lillian's character -- in fact, some of the themes are still relevant today such as the sexual double standard women face. Squire Bartlett was giving Lillian a hard time because he knew nothing of her family background when she came to him to find employment -- yet, had it been a man, the Squire would respect the man's right to privacy regarding his private life.

Lillian's acting is great. To me the true judgement of a silent film's effectiveness is the ability to stir up emotions in viewers just by watching the actor's face and body movements. Lillian achieves this beautifully. I think if this were a talkie the effect would have been less.

Overall, this is a great film but a bit long in some parts. For example, that Perkins woman (with the ringlets) was quite annoying and the film sometimes focused a little too much on her antics. I give it a 9 out of 10.


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