Sunday, September 20, 2009

11. Orphans of the Storm (1921)

Running Time: 150 minutes
Directed By: D.W. Griffith
Written By: D.W. Griffith, from the play The Two Orphans by Eugene Cormon and Adolphe d'Ennery
Main Cast: Lillian Gish, Dorothy Gish, Joseph Schildkraut, Monte Blue, Morgan Wallace


As we bid farewell to D.W. Griffith, we take one last look at his work in Orphans of the Storm, a great movie that uses the French Revolution as a backdrop to tell a heart wrenching tale of two "sisters" (played by real life sisters, Lillian and Doroth Gish).

After being abandoned by her aristocrat parents, Louisa is found and accepted by commoners in the 1700's. The commoners, a man and woman, already have a child named Henriette, so the two are brought up as sisters. After the girls are both grown up, the plague takes the life of their parents and strikes Louisa with blindness. Henriette, however, vows to never leave her side and promises to always take care of her.

So they take off for Paris, to meet with a doctor, in hopes of curing the eyes of Louisa. Once in Paris, they come across Marquis de Praille, who becomes enchanted by Henriette. When she gives him the cold shoulder, he demands to have her abducted and brought to his estate, thus breaking up the sisters and leaving the blind Louisa to fend for herself. However, a noble, gentelman by the name of Chevalier de Vaudrey rescues her from the home of Praille and takes her to safety, only to fall in love with her.

From there, Louisa is taken in by a band of poor scoundrels, with bad intentions. They see Louisa's blindness and innocence as a way to make money while begging on the streets. They mistreat her and abuse her, but use her for their advantage. Henriette continues to search for Louisa, without luck. The aristocrat Chevalier de Vaudrey, determined to marry Henriette, is arrested for disobeying the king's orders and going against his pre-planned marriage.
Then the revolution breaks out and the aristocrats are overthrown by the people, with even the prisoners being set free. The new law decrees that any aristocrat found in the city will be arrested, as well as anyone harboring an aristocrat. Henriette, now a freed prisoner, meets back up with Chevalier, but they are found out and re-arrested and sentenced to the guillotine, leaving us with a super suspenful ending to a great film.

I gotta tell ya if I had read a review of this film, before going into it, I probably would've dreaded it. I mean, french revolution, aristocrats and men wearing wigs doesn't sound like a great time to me. But I was pleasantly surprised to find this gem and enjoyed it I DID!

Surprisingly I gotta say I'm kinda sad that the Griffith flicks are done, as I was really starting to settle in and enjoy the hell out of his movies. The last three I watched were very well done and Broken Blossoms was the stuff dreams are made of. Orphans of the Storm was also great, with Way Down East coming in thrid, but a noble third indeed.

RATING: 7.5/10 I think when I'm all done with the mission of completing the 1001, I'll revisit Griffith and watch some of his other films. Great movie!

NEXT UP: The Smiling Madame Beudet...Can't find it yet...Stay tuned.

September 20, 2009 8:59pm

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like Griffith ended up being not so bad after all I am glad you are enjoying yourself!


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