D.W. Griffith has tossed two orphans onto the tempestuous sea of the French Revolution and uses the ride-to-the-rescue for a finale, with an orphan under the guillotine and ‘Danton five miles away’. This scene is drawn out agonizingly but does not let down in any spot.
The cavalry ride through the town, the storming of the moated guillotine gates, the last-minute reprieve and the hesitating release trigger on the guillotine all make for a dramatic final reel with a Griffith thrill that will compensate those who are not won by the unbelievable fidelity of the entire film historically.
The plot [based on the French play Les Deux Orphelines, by D’Ennery and Cormon] carries the two orphan girls, one blind, into Paris. Dorothy Gish is the blind girl, and this step from comedienne roles into a role of unlimited emotional possibilities reveals new capabilities in the less famous of the two Gish girls.