Review: ‘The Battle of the Sexes’

The story is a familiar but intimate tale vividly illustrated on the screen. Griffith keeps it alive every moment.

The story is a familiar but intimate tale vividly illustrated on the screen. Griffith keeps it alive every moment.

A family of four – father, mother, son and daughter – are living in an apartment house. To the same floor comes an adventuress, who is planted there to make a play for the husband (Donald Crisp). His general reputation is undisclosed, but it may be taken for granted that he is a wealthy chaser. The woman (Fay Tincher), after renting the apartment, goes to work on the head of the house in the opposite flat by leaving her door ajar and her skirt slightly lifted, as the husband starts out.

From this beginning the story pictures a mistress, a broken home, a heart-broken mother (Mary Alden) and two sad children (Robert Harron and Lillian Gish).

The acting hit of the film, far and away over anything else, is the wife, played by Alden. As a middleaged woman, called upon to pantomimically represent all the emotions, including an impulse toward insanity upon the discovery of her husband’s unfaithfulness, Alden is superb. Crisp gives a competent performance, Gish is girlish and nice, Harron does exceedingly well as the son, and Owen Moore as the lover, in a somewhat slim part, plays it well.

The blot on the acting is Fay Tincher as Cleo, the adventuress.

The Battle of the Sexes

Production

Reliance. Director D.W. Griffith; Screenplay Daniel Carson Goodman, Gemit J. Lloyd, D.W. Griffith; Camera Billy Bitzer; Editor James E. Smith, Rose Smith

Crew

Silent. (B&W) Extract of a review from 1914. Running time: 60 MIN.

With

Donald Crisp Robert Harron Lillian Gish Mary Alden Owen Moore Fay Tincher
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