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Orphans of the Storm (1921)

Not Rated | | Drama, History, Romance | 1922 (Poland)
Two orphaned sisters are caught up in the turmoil of the French Revolution, encountering misery and love along the way.

Director:

D.W. Griffith

Writers:

Adolphe d'Ennery (novel), Eugène Cormon (novel) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Lillian Gish ... Henriette Girard
Dorothy Gish ... Louise Girard
Joseph Schildkraut ... Chevalier de Vaudrey
Frank Losee ... Count de Linieres
Katherine Emmet Katherine Emmet ... Countess de Linieres
Morgan Wallace ... Marquis de Praille
Lucille La Verne ... Mother Frochard
Sheldon Lewis ... Jacques Frochard
Frank Puglia ... Pierre Frochard
Creighton Hale ... Picard
Monte Blue ... Danton
Sidney Herbert ... Robespierre
Lee Kohlmar Lee Kohlmar ... King Louis XVI
Marcia Harris Marcia Harris ... Henriette's Landlady
Adolph Lestina Adolph Lestina ... Doctor
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Storyline

Henriette and Louise, a foundling, are raised together as sisters. When Louise goes blind, Henriette swears to take care of her forever. They go to Paris to see if Louise's blindness can be cured, but are separated when an aristocrat lusts after Henriette and abducts her. Only Chevalier de Vaudrey is kind to her, and they fall in love. The French Revolution replaces the corrupt Aristocracy with the equally corrupt Robespierre. De Vaudrey, who has always been good to peasants, is condemned to death for being an aristocrat, and Henriette for harboring him. Will revolutionary hero Danton, the only voice for mercy in the new regime, be able to save them from the guillotine? Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | History | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

D.W. Griffith used this movie as a means of commenting, obliquely, on the politics of his time. He drew parallels between the anarchist mobs that overthrew the French aristocrats and what he says in opening titles to the film are the present American dangers of succumbing to the kind of "anarchy and Bolshevism" he perceived in the recent Russian Revolution. It is a great historical irony that those Bolsheviks Griffith railed against were quite smitten with the director's incomparable ways of generating film tension in crosscutting as well as his cinematic means of conveying good and evil via sophisticated editing and framing techniques. As the father of film syntax Griffith was an enormous influence on Soviet filmmakers Sergei M. Eisenstein and Vsevolod Pudovkin, who were inspired by many of his films--including this anti-Bolshevism one. See more »

Goofs

When the Bastille is taken, the prisoners are freed. There are many of them. In reality, only seven prisoners were freed during the taking of the Bastille. See more »

Quotes

Danton: I plead not for these alone - but against TYRANNY - HATRED - for MERCY - LOVE - that alone will save our suffering nation!
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Connections

Referenced in Football of the Good Old Days (1973) See more »

User Reviews

 
Lavish Epic Romance
29 December 2002 | by Shelly_Servo3000See all my reviews

D.W. Griffith loved epic stories full of dangerous situations and damsels in distress. With the beautiful and talented Gish sisters, he got two damsels for the price of one. "Orphans of the Storm" is probably the most beautiful of all Griffith features. The lavish detailing of the sets is much better than "Intolerance" or "Broken Blossoms" and the costumes are magnificent. By this time in Griffith's career, his direction was already beginning to become stale and his plots too old-fashioned, but somehow he makes "Orphans" work to his advantage.

Lillian Gish is Henriette Girard and her sister Dorothy plays her "Sister" Louise. The amazing Joseph Schildkraut plays de Vaudrey, a nobleman who truly is noble. The "storm" in the title refers to the French Revolution, which is the background this story of family and romantic love plays itself upon.

As usual, Lillian Gish is wonderful in her role as the devoted sister Henriette; but it is Dorothy Gish as blind sister Louise who is truly the star of the film. Her performance drips with the pathos, pain, and longing that most people associate with her older sister. Schildkraut shines in this, his first Hollywood film role.

The frequent ridiculous scenes (Danton running to save Henriette from the executioner's blade?) and length of the film will turn most modern viewers off; but those who have a love of history, epic spectacle, and the timeless beauty of the Gish sisters will enjoy "Orphans of the Storm".


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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

None | English

Release Date:

1922 (Poland) See more »

Also Known As:

The Two Orphans See more »

Filming Locations:

Florence, Tuscany, Italy See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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