Way Down East

January 14, 2010 at 12:01 am Leave a comment

MOVIE:  Way Down East

NUTSHELL:  D.W. Griffith directing Lillian Gish as a Poor Country Girl duped by a Rich Cad into a fake wedding (and some coughcough other stuff) resulting in a baby which sadly dies. PCG takes a job as a maid at the farm across from RC’s (just don’t ask) and he threatens to out her as… well… a great big tramp! but the Squire finds out from the town yakker anyway and throws PCG out in a snowstorm where Squire’s son goes after her and hops from ice floe (flow?) to ice flow (floe?) so he can save her and we can see that shot in all our History of Cinema courses.

GOOD THINGS:  There’s some pretty modern acting in here and the Gish babe is very ooh la la. Plus it has Griffith doing his “let’s create a new art form” thing without his “I have a serious problem with people of color” thing. There’s also a gnarly fight with men in fur coats mauling each other. Woo hoo!

BAD THINGS:  I’m sorry but I don’t get the irising in and out and right and left. Someone explain this. It just makes me go, “Huh?”

FEATURES:  Pelts-a-palooza, boarding houses, mean cousins, Richard Barthelmess, Lowell Sherman, Burr McIntosh (Hey, McIntosh, you cold? hahahahaahaha!), Kate Bruce, Mary Hay (Mary, Hey! What? Oh nothing just saying your name.), Creighton Hale, Emily Fitzroy, characters named “Hi Holler”, “Barn Dancer” and “The Eccentric Aunt”, (did I already mention there’s an entire barn dance sequence?), an actress credited as Mrs. David Landau (isn’t that just presh?) and last but not least – and definitely not the least teased in school: Athole Shearer

UNCOMFORTABLE MOMENTS:  Well the villain is pretty oily and there’s that thing where you feel like if the protagonist just took 3 minutes to explain herself she wouldn’t have to skulk around the countryside anymore. And the ice flow (floe?) thing. I mean… Jesus!

NOTABLE:  Some of the crew died while filming this because they waited and then filmed it in an actual blizzard. (Fucking dogme freaks.)

BEST PART:  The Gish Babe giving that asshole H-E-double hockey sticks right in front of everyone.

BEST LINE:  This top! But Auntie, where’s the rest of it?

CROWNS:  4 out of 5

Entry filed under: Classic, Firebaton review.

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