the best part of any lillian gish movie is lillian gish. she had a way of moving still reflected in performances as late as nastassja kinski’s in cat people (1982): fingers splayed and frantic, hair tufted, owl eyes, a sincere-seeming mania. d.w. griffith left a sour legacy but, if you feel able, watch for lillian
7.5/10. Hands down Griffith's best. Fluid, super-early modern Hollywood epic—formulaic before formula was established! Saw marvellous MOMA restoration, carefully documenting missing scenes. Textbook assembly of stock characters. Story drags in middle act. Highly contrived: outdoor finale, happy ending. DG's intertitles now less pompous! We feel for the underdog heroine—sexually exploited, then bullied by hypocrites.
A reactionary portrait of one woman’s hapless sin against Christian values and American society. Her “crimes of passion” threaten to engulf an entire New England village and send its bucolic tranquility into chaos and disorder. The film is explicitly concerned with women’s re-productive labor and their roles as mothers and wives. One of the subtle tricks at work is to frame the woman as a victim in need of rescue.
A talented man with backward thinking. He created "morality" plays for White people but excoriated Blacks. What is our obsession with him? How this man, his movies, and the endless gushing over him still reigns supreme in 2015 is mind-bending. Overrated, dangerous, racist -- I'll take a Hallmark over Griffith any day of the week.
Lillian Gish had one of the most expressive faces in the history of the film and her performance here is a master class in silent screen acting. Griffith's ultimate melodrama is a moving, exciting and awe inspiring classic of silent cinema. The ice flow sequence even by today's standards fills one with awe at its execution. The film however rests on Gish and it is her who elevates it to its revered status.
Who decided that this racist pig Griffith deserves to be rehabilitated? His patriarchal, religious moralizing is even more difficult to swallow in light of his glorification of the KKK, and depiction of Black men as a threat to white women. There were a few good moments in this film, but not enough to compensate for the White moralistic and misogynistic theme. Griffith's films should be left to rot, not restored!
For my money, Griffith's best film. His epic impulses are scaled back and his more odious politics are nowhere in sight—indeed, as an empathetic story of sexual double standards and single motherhood, Griffith's moralizing finds itself on the right side of history—leaving you only his strengths: skill and clarity as a visual storyteller, a deeply felt sense of community, and a hell of a final setpiece.
I feel the climax is a bit drawn out, but other than that everything is done very well here. Perhaps a bit less experimental with camera technique than usual, but this is more than made up for by what is certainly one of Gish's best performances I've seen thus far in a Griffith film (moving chronologically here.) Also alot less of the pointless silent-dialogue-without-title-card-or-meaningful-gesture uselessness.