Way Down East
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FROM THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART S 35mm RESTORATION
D.W. Griffith s penchant for Victorian melodrama reached its height of expression in WAY DOWN EAST. First performed in 1898, Lottie Blair Parker s play was one of the most successful stageworks ever written, a theatrical chestnut, heavy with sentiment, that cried out for the touch of the master. Griffith captured the appeal of Parker s original, while embossing it with devices borrowed from other popular melodramas, such as the climactic chase across an ice floe (inspired by stage adaptations of Uncle Tom s Cabin). Lillian Gish stars as a small-town girl who is seduced, impregnated, and cast aside by Lennox Sanderson, a wealthy playboy (Lowell Sherman). To escape the shame of having a fatherless child, Anna changes her name and starts a new life in a small farming community, where she meets David, an icon of male virtue and decency (Richard Barthelmess). Their delicate happiness is threatened when Lennox arrives in town, and word of Anna s unsavory past begins to spread.
- Mastered in HD from the Museum of Modern Art s 35mm restoration, with original color tints
- Score compiled from historic photoplay music, performed by The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra (2.0 Stereo)
- Excerpts from Lottie Blair Parker s original play
- Photos of William Brady s 1903 stage version
- Film Clip: The ice floe sequence of the Edison Studio s production of Uncle Tom s Cabin.
- Image gallery, including the original souvenir program book
- Notes on the preparation of the music score
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Having said that, this is still a worthwhile purchase for people that like silent film. D.W. Griffith's direction is excellent, as are the performances, especially Lillian Gish. The Adult themes of this film strike me as unusually daring for a film of this vintage, considering the censorship imposed on films in the mid 1930's and beyond. This is still a very relevant film.
Again, my only caveat with this version, is that I feel it could have been transferred as a less expensive DVD with little or no loss of video detail, considering the condition of the print. Unlike "The General" with Buster Keaton, that had a very good print that transferred very well to Blu-Ray.
You have got to see the ending ,NO SOUND STAGE ,ITS AMAZING ! I guess it was filmed in upstate New York in winter . I understand it was Lillians idea to have her hand and hair trailing off into the WATER . THE STORY WAS OLD WHEN SHE DID THE MOVIE AND I UNDERSTAND SHE DIDNT WANT TO DO IT !But its worth seeing at least once ! If You enjoy pre sould trac films YOU HAVE GOT TO SEE THIS ONE .But I liked (BROKE BLOSSEMS )1918 & (THE WIND )1928 . Better !