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Orphans of the Storm

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.

With:
Lillian Gish Dorothy Gish Joseph Schildkraut Frank Losee Katherine Emmett Morgan Wallace

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.

Orphans of the Storm

Production: Griffith/United Artists. Director D.W. Griffith; Producer D.W. Griffith; Screenplay Marquis de Trolignac [= D.W. Griffith]; Camera Hendrik Sartov, Paul Allen, G.W. Bitzer; Editor James Smith, Rose Smith; Art Director Charles M. Kirk, Edward Scholl

Crew: Silent. (B&W) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1921. Running time: 170 MIN.

With: Lillian Gish Dorothy Gish Joseph Schildkraut Frank Losee Katherine Emmett Morgan Wallace

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