7.5/10
259
9 user 3 critic

Isn't Life Wonderful (1924)

A family of Polish refugees tries to survive in post-World War I Germany. For a while it seems that they are making it, but soon the economic and political deterioration in the country begins to take their toll.

Director:

D.W. Griffith

Writers:

D.W. Griffith, Geoffrey Moss (novel)
Reviews

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Adventure | Drama | Fantasy
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

After Siegfried's dead, Kriemhild marries Etzel, the King of the Huns. She gives birth to a child, and invites her brothers for a party. She tries to persuade Etzel and the other Huns, that... See full summary »

Director: Fritz Lang
Stars: Margarete Schön, Gertrud Arnold, Theodor Loos
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

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 »

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Lillian Gish, Robert Harron, Wilbur Higby
America (1924)
Certificate: Passed Drama | History | War
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  

The story of a family caught up in the American Revolutionary War.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Neil Hamilton, Carol Dempster, Erville Alderson
Certificate: Passed History | Romance | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

After witnessing the murder of his father by a renegade as a boy, the grown-up Brandon helps to realize his father's dream of a transcontinental railway.

Director: John Ford
Stars: George O'Brien, Madge Bellamy, Charles Edward Bull
Greed (1924)
Drama | Thriller | Western
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

The sudden fortune won from a lottery fans such destructive greed that it ruins the lives of the three people involved.

Director: Erich von Stroheim
Stars: Gibson Gowland, Zasu Pitts, Jean Hersholt
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A prince must woo the now wealthy dancer he once abandoned in order to keep her money in the country in order to keep it from crashing economically.

Director: Erich von Stroheim
Stars: Mae Murray, John Gilbert, Roy D'Arcy
Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A Jewish prince seeks to find his family and revenge himself upon his childhood friend who had him wrongly imprisoned.

Directors: Fred Niblo, Charles Brabin, and 3 more credits »
Stars: Ramon Novarro, Francis X. Bushman, May McAvoy
Certificate: Passed Crime | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A sideshow ventriloquist, midget, and strongman form a conspiracy known as "The Unholy Three" and commit a series of robberies.

Director: Tod Browning
Stars: Lon Chaney, Mae Busch, Matt Moore
Way Down East (1920)
Certificate: Passed Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

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
Stars: Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess, Mrs. David Landau
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A drunkard priest who has been cast out by his community struggles to atone and regain his honour and dignity.

Director: Mauritz Stiller
Stars: Lars Hanson, Sven Scholander, Ellen Hartman-Cederström
Certificate: Passed Comedy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6/10 X  

Around the turn of the century, in England, alcoholic Uncle Willie is the bane of his family, of which his brother-in-law (Cecil Parker) is the family spokesman. It is decided to let Uncle ... See full summary »

Director: Harold French
Stars: Cecil Parker, Eileen Herlie, Donald Wolfit
The Struggle (1931)
Certificate: Passed Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A young couple's marriage is jeopardized by the husband's descent into alcoholism.

Director: D.W. Griffith
Stars: Hal Skelly, Zita Johann, Charlotte Wynters
Edit

Cast

Cast overview:
Carol Dempster ... Inga
Neil Hamilton ... Paul
Erville Alderson ... The Professor
Helen Lowell ... The Grandmother
Marcia Harris Marcia Harris ... The Aunt
Frank Puglia ... Theodor
Lupino Lane ... Rudolph
Hans Adalbert Schlettow ... Leader of the Workers
Paul Rehkopf Paul Rehkopf ... Hungry Worker
Robert Scholtz Robert Scholtz ... Hungry Worker
Walter Plimmer Walter Plimmer ... The American (as Walter Plimmer Jr.)
Edit

Storyline

The story follows a Polish professor and his family who have become refugees in the aftermath of World War I. They try to survive in Germany during the period of the Great Inflation. Carol Dempster is Inga, a Polish war orphan who struggles to provide for the family that has taken her in, while accumulating a meager dowry from the rubble of depression-stricken Berlin so that she can marry Paul. Returning to his family, weakened by the battlefront's poisonous gases, Paul invests in his and Inga's future by tending a secret garden which he hopes will provide the resources for them to live, and which serves as a symbol of optimism for the two young lovers. Written by Fiona Kelleghan <fkelleghan@aol.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

5 December 1924 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dawn See more »

Filming Locations:

Berlin, Germany See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (copy with English titles at Brussels Musée du Cinéma)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

 
Love Conquerors All
13 December 2009 | by wes-connorsSee all my reviews

After "The Great War" (later called "World War I"), unfortunately orphaned Carol Dempster (as Inga) goes to Germany, with an also-on-the-move homeless Polish family. There, she waits for handsome soldier Neil Hamilton (as Paul), childhood sweetheart from her "adopted" family. So, living virtuously must have been difficult for the couple, since they grew up together. Presently, Ms. Dempster and Mr. Hamilton find their changes for happiness averted by devastating post-war conditions…

Absent collaborators G.W. Bitzer, Robert Harron, and Lillian Gish might have given director D.W. Griffith another masterpiece with "Isn't Life Wonderful". His closest film-making partner was, by now, protégée Dempster. One of the problems with Dempster is evident herein - note the scene where she forces herself to "smile" while Mr. Hamilton is bedridden; this acting business is swiped from Ms. Gish's "smile" in "Broken Blossoms" (1919); and, Hamilton is directed to act like Mr. Harron.

This doesn't mean Dempster and Hamilton aren't adequate in the parts - but one of Mr. Griffith's problems was pigeonholing an actress like Dempster into something she was not. Griffith directed a "type" - the old lady, the mother, the virginal heroine, the suitor, etc. Herein, he is obviously directing his cast to act like the "types" co-created with performers like Gish and Harron; and, he incorrectly assumes one performer (Dempster) is able to deliver the same kind of performance as another (Gish).

This thematically beautiful film was said to be Griffith's apology for his ostensibly pro-War and necessarily anti-German "Hearts of the World" (1918, with Harron and Gish). But, Griffith apologists should have looked at "Hearts" more closely, and beat a hasty retreat; because, the turnaround began within that film. Like a war weary world, Griffith foresaw a pacifist mood. He knew how to be both ahead of the curve and behind the times; pulling no punches, "Isn't Life Wonderful" serves up blistering pessimistic optimism.

******* Isn't Life Wonderful (11/23/24) D.W. Griffith ~ Carol Dempster, Neil Hamilton, Lupino Lane, Frank Puglia


5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 9 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending Movies With Prime Video

Enjoy a night in with these popular movies available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial



Recently Viewed