Monday, July 5, 2010




Orphans of the Storm
1921
D.W. Griffith
Staring: Lillian and Dorothy Gish, Joseph Schildkraut

Lately I have been very interested in pre Hays Code movies; mostly I’ve stuck to the talkies. After reading Hala Pickford’s blog, Forget the Talkies I decided silents were worth watching. While browsing Netflix I saw they have a nice selection of silent movies for instant watch. I figured why not and settled in for Orphans of the Storm.

The story centers around two non blood related sisters Henriette (Lillian) and Louise (Dorothy). Louise is struck blind after an illness. Henritette decides to take Louise to Paris to find a doctor to cure her. On the way they run into Marquis de Praille, and evil aristocrat gets the hots for Henritette and has her kidnapped. She is rescued by another and much kinder aristocrat, Chevalier de Vaudrey. In the meantime poor Louise is taken in by a less than kind poor family and forced to beg on the streets.

Most of the movie is the two sisters trying to find each other in an unfamiliar city. The rest centers around the raising class conflicts just before the revolution.

And Danton is kinda important to the plot.


What I liked

-Overall I thought this was a great movie. I wasn’t really sure what to expect from a silent movie. The acting was over the top, but to my surprise it didn’t bother me at all. The acting from the Gish sisters was really good even when very over the top. During the scene where Louise learns she is blind truly tugged on my heartstrings. I was at the verge of tears near the ending.

-The costumes were really wonderful and the set was pretty believable. I don’t think The costumes we not terribly historically accurate but I have seen much worse.

-The music was very enjoyable to listen to and I wish I could get the soundtrack.


What I didn’t
They wasn’t a lot I didn’t like about this movie.

-I felt that sometime the title cards explained too much and assumed the viewers were morons. Modern movie assume this too, so this is really more a complaint of movies in general.

-The Gish sisters were playing non related character. They look extremely similar to each other. In fact a couple of time I got them confused while watching the movie. I don’t really feel that them not being blood related helped the plot out any.

-The thing that bothers me to most was how often the movie felt the need to tell us how evil the aristocrats are.They was a lot of "look at how much food they are wasting at their party" and "look at the naked ladies swimming in a pool of wine." It got really annoying after a while.

All of these are minor complaints and don’t really take anything away from the movie.


In conclusion
Would I watch it again: Not anytime soon, but yes
Do I recommend this movie: Yes
8 out of 10

<a href="http://www.archive.org/details/OrphansoftheStorm">You can watch the whole movie here</a> or at netflix.com

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