Way Down East (September 3, 1920)

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Lillian Gish in Way Down East
 

Released on September 3, 1920: A young country girl is taken advantage of by a wealthy wolf and has a child out of wedlock, making her life very challenging in her search for happiness.

Produced by D.W. Griffith

Directed by D.W. Griffith

The Actors: Lillian Gish (Anna Moore), Richard Barthelmess (David Bartlett), Mrs. David Landau (Anna's Mother), Lowell Sherman (Lennox Sanderson), Burr McIntosh (Squire Bartlett), Josephine Bernard (Mrs. Emma Tremont), Mrs. Morgan Belmont (Diana Tremont), Patricia Fruen (Diana's Sister), Florence Short (the eccentric aunt), Kate Bruce (Mrs. Bartlett), Vivia Ogden (Martha Perkins), Porter Strong (Seth Holcomb), George Nevill (Constable Rube Whipple), Edgar Nelson (Hi Holler), Mary Hay (Kate Brewster, the Squre's niece), Creighton Hale (Professor Sterling), Emily Fitzroy (landlady Maria Poole), Carol Dempster (barn dancer), Louise Lawson II (unknown), Athole Shearer (barn dancer), Edith Shearer (barn dancer), Norma Shearer (barn dancer), Frank Walsh (barn dancer)

 

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One man for one woman, but many women for one man

One of the first screens in this epic tale proclaims that this is a simple story about simple people . . . well, yes and no. The title cards go on to explain that the polygamous ways of man since the beginning of time were morphing into a world with one man for one woman . . . but then goes on to explain that while the women are happy with this arrangement, many men still want to have multiple women in their lives, and this is the story of one woman who met such a man. Poor Mama Moore can't afford to keep her daughter anymore and sends her off to her rich cousin's home to see if they might take her in. The rich relatives do indeed take her in, and during a party at their house a womanizing wealthy bachelor spies lovely Anna and puts the moves on her. Part of his pitch to her is that he will marry her, and indeed he takes her to some fellows who perform what seems like a wedding ceremony, and the honeymoon is on! The rich fellow cautions her to keep their marriage a secret for a while because his rich parents wouldn't understand and by the time he finally tells her that the wedding was a sham and that they never really got married, she is with child. Like any good soap opera style story her life and the life of the cad who fathered her illegitimate child will intersect over the next few years in very tragic ways, forcing us to keep the tissues very close at hand. There is a ray of hope present even from the beginning of the show, but how it will come about may not be easy or even possible, because of her now-checkered past. Can happiness come to a naive young country girl who was abused by a wealthy wolf of a man? Will the storm clouds of disaster follow her the rest of her life? Will Karma settle the score with the wealthy cad one day before the story ends? Is there no justice for the simple people trying to carve a good life out of a bad background? Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter on it and enjoy the show.

Anna and her baby
Anna and her baby
Lillian Gish
Lillian Gish
Burr McIntosh
Burr McIntosh
Burr McIntosh
Burr McIntosh
Creighton Hale
Creighton Hale
Edgar Nelson
Edgar Nelson
Emily Fitzroy and Mary Hay
Emily Fitzroy and Mary Hay
Emily Fitzroy
Emily Fitzroy
Florence Short
Florence Short
George Neville
George Neville
Josephine Barnard and Mrs. Morgan Belmont
Josephine Barnard and Mrs. Morgan Belmont
Josephine Bernard
Josephine Bernard
Kate Bruce
Kate Bruce
Lillian Gish
Lillian Gish
Lillian Gish and Lowell Sherman
Lillian Gish and Lowell Sherman
Lillian Gish
Lillian Gish
Lillian Gish at the party
Lillian Gish at the party
Lillian Gish
Lillian Gish
Lillian Gish looking coy
Lillian Gish looking coy
Lillian Gish in 1920
Lillian Gish in 1920
Lowell Sherman
Lowell Sherman
Lowell Sherman woos Lillian Gish
Lowell Sherman woos Lillian Gish
Lowell Sherman
Lowell Sherman
Mary Hay
Mary Hay
Mary Hay
Mary Hay
Mrs. David Landau and Lillian Gish
Mrs. David Landau and Lillian Gish
Mrs. David Landau
Mrs. David Landau
Mrs. Morgan Belmont
Mrs. Morgan Belmont
Patricia Fruen, Lillian GIsh and Mrs. Morgan Belmont
Patricia Fruen, Lillian GIsh and Mrs. Morgan Belmont
Porter Strong
Porter Strong
Richard Barthelmess woos Lillian Gish
Richard Barthelmess woos Lillian Gish
Richard Barthelmess
Richard Barthelmess