Way Down East CC

Amazon Instant Video

(37) IMDb 8/10
Available on Prime

D.W. Griffith's 1920 masterpiece has been restored to it's original full length with color tinting. Based on a popular 19th century play, "Way Down East" is a poignant melodrama about a poor country girl who is tricked into a fake marriage and has an illegitimate child who dies. After starting a new life, her past is exposed and she is evicted into a raging blizzard, pursued by the young man who secretly loves her.

Starring:
Lillian Gish, Lowell Sherman
Runtime:
2 hours 26 minutes

Way Down East

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Romance
Director D.W. Griffith
Starring Lillian Gish, Lowell Sherman
Supporting actors Mrs. David Landau, Lowell Sherman, Burr McIntosh, Josephine Bernard, Mrs. Morgan Belmont, Patricia Fruen, Florence Short, Kate Bruce, Vivia Ogden, Porter Strong, George Neville, Edgar Nelson, Mary Hay, Creighton Hale, Emily Fitzroy, Carol Dempster, Louise Lawson II, Athole Shearer
Studio Egami Media
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 7-day viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

She is left alone to confront a shamed life, but when her baby dies, she hopes to take refuse working to earn her keep in a faraway home.
Samantha Glasser
In order to truly enjoy a film like Way Down East it is necessary to try to perform the seemingly impossible task of transporting yourself back into the 1920's.
Mr Peter G George
I can tell you right now, the clarity to see those close-up scenes of Lilian Gish walking through an actual blizzard, you can see the detail much clearly.
Dennis A. Amith (kndy)

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Mr Peter G George on February 28, 2001
Format: DVD
In order to truly enjoy a film like Way Down East it is necessary to try to perform the seemingly impossible task of transporting yourself back into the 1920's. It is very easy to be critical of the moralizing, the melodrama and the attitudes. It is easy to find a film like this primitive in its techniques and its acting. But this is to miss the point and prevents a viewer from having a great silent film experience. This film carries the viewer along with the intensity of the emotion that is portrayed, especially by Lillian Gish in what is perhaps her best performance. Certain scenes have become archetypes, such as the `leave my house' scene. Some people may criticise the so-called comic relief scenes in this film. But it must be remembered that they are not intended to be funny in the sense of Keaton or Chaplin, for this would make the film fantasy rather than drama. They are supposed to be light relief, nothing more. The best thing about this DVD is that it shows the film complete. The colour tinting, which should always be reproduced if at all possible, is subtle and greatly adds to the mood of each scene. The print shows some damage in places which at times is quite serious, but does not detract from the enjoyment of the film. We must accept that sometimes it is not possible to restore a film to perfection. It is better to have a few damaged frames than to have them missing. The original music for a 1928 reissue is reproduced and sounds fine. Finally this DVD includes extensive sleeve notes which are informative and well written. Griffith, as far as I am concerned, will always remain one of the greatest of directors and Way Down East is one of his finest films.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By "gishfan" on January 31, 2000
Format: DVD
Way Down East, although technically imperfect by the over-exacting standards of modern-day audiences (who are used to expensive computer-generated special effects which rarely serve to truly augment a film and often serve as a cover for woefully deficient plots), is nothing short of a masterpiece. As usual, Lillian Gish's acting is superb, and the ice floe sequence near the end is truly riveting even with a couple of continuity problems. Richard Barthelmess shines through as David Bartlett, turning in another fine performance. Way Down East is another of Griffith's masterpieces, and this release features the full-length version mastered at the correct film speed, complete with original tints, and the original score, recorded on Vitaphone discs for the film's 1930 reissue, making for an outstanding evening's entertainment. Excellent!
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Randall on December 2, 1999
Format: DVD
This and Broken Blossoms are the defining moments in Lillian Gish's career. Watch and you'll be hooked. I pretty much bestow all the same accolades as everybody else about this film. Griffith was not quite a master of slapstick, but the moments here are not much different from other comedies at the time. The key of course is Gish's mesmerizing performance and a simple plot (this is 1920 of course). What a treat it is to own this movie and other silents on DVD. The picture quality is virtually perfect. The music score is a recording of an original score. It's scratchy but authentic. My only gripe with this edition is the title cards. The letters look like they came from the Sunday comics. One small quibble in an otherwise remarkable DVD.
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Format: Blu-ray
In 1920, D.W. Griffith would go on to do a film adaptation of Lottie Blair Parker's play "Way Down East".

Despite the fact that two silent film adaptations were previously done (including a Henry Fonda talkie in 1935), Griffith paid $175,000 for the screen rights to the film and in those days, that was astronomical as it became the most expensive film for the filmmaker. But also one of his most successful films in the box office taking in over $4.5 million in 1920. The film was also known for using an early Technicolor process and for D.W. Griffith, wanting to attain realism, shot the winter scenes during the latter part of the film in an actual blizzard.

Back in 2008, "Way Down East" was included with the Kino International DVD box set "Griffith Masterworks 2' and featured the remastered version by the Museum of Modern Art. Now, "Way Down East" will be released on Blu-ray in Nov. 2011 courtesy of Kino Lorber.

VIDEO:

"Way Down East" is presented in 1080p High Definition and the film is color tinted. The film is mastered in HD from the Museum of Modern Art's 35mm restoration with original color tints. It's important to note that the Museum of Modern Art did the best restoration possible with the original existing film elements. With that being said, the film features a lot more clarity and detail in HD compared to its 2008 DVD release.

While the film does have specks, scratches and even moments where we can see film damage, fortunately it's not too bad and doesn't take you away from the actual viewing experience.

With that being said, unfortunately this is not the complete version of the film.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 27, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
First, let's get one thing clear: this is old-fashioned melodrama, pure and simple. The situations have been used before ("Uncle Tom's Cabin" and "Tess of the D'Urbervilles" seem two prominent sources) and real emotion is eschewed by most of the actors in favor of Delsartian posing. The film is conventional in plot and design. However, for some reason I find myself replaying scenes from this film in my head, and moments come back me at odd times. The ice flow scene is a deserved classic -- you feel genuine concern, especially knowing that none of it is high-tech computer wizardry: this is the real thing. Griffith manages some other affecting scenes (the baptism comes to mind) and much of the movie is shot on location, with some lovely scenes of pastoral America. The best aspect of the film, however, is the acting of Lillian Gish. Where other characters resort to mugging, her expressive face and large doe eyes register every emotion truthfully and beautifully. Griffith exploits her talent in as many close-ups as he can get of her. She has mastered the art of silent film acting, and this film is a textbook example by one of the greatest stars of the era. Griffith's real failing in this picture comes in the truly poor comedy scenes. They are irritating, amateurish, and decidedly unfunny. This edition is beautifully done, with the original colored tints used. This is a classic document of an art form and a type of story-telling that has been lost to us.
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