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Way Down East [Blu-ray] [1920] [US Import]

4.0 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 4:3 - 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B005J7K9EG
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 131,072 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 17 Dec. 2003
Format: DVD
D W Griffith was one of the greatest directors in the silent era and Way Down East was probably his finest film. The film does not suffer from the flaws which spoil some of his other films such as racual overtones in 'The Birth of a Nation', or a disjointed narrative as does 'Intolerance' and the film therefore should be enjoyable to every silent film fan.
The actual plot of the film centers around Lillian Gish (who gives the performance of her career) and her attempts to escape an incident which occurred in her past. There is also a climax on an ice flow, which is probably the finest in motion history. I will not reveal more as it may spoil the film.
The picture quality of the DVD is good through out and has a score written at the time of the films release.
This DVD is really worth buying, the film still has the power to move even after 80 years and is an essential purchase to any silent film fan.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Lillian Gish in her most famous performance in silent films. She is briliant in all films but hundreds were lost.You can enjoy this film even more if you read her biography of how films were made live, real storms, two men just to hold the camera still.She practised for weeks lying in cold baths. You cannot see to well on the old film but her eyelashes were covered in ice and she risked her health turnng blue on the ice, while other actors took it easier. Her last film at 93 was "The Whales of August", also the last film for Vincent Price and Bette Davis.
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Format: Amazon Video Verified Purchase
This review is of the Amazon Prime version. A just about acceptable copy, though far from sharp, but at least running at the correct speed. The music, though... monotonous repeated chord sequences played on an electronic keyboard by someone with little musical ability and absolutely no sensitivity to the requirements of the film. Quite appalling.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Need to allocate a couple of hours to watch this silent film, but looking forward to it. I've seen clips of the sequence of the girl on the ice flows on the river, which is remarkable. No CGI in those days ~ they did it for real and filmed it!
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Format: DVD
D.W. Griffith is without doubt one of the most controversial directors in all of film history. It is, perhaps, due to the flagrantly racist tone of his films (mainly The Birth of a Nation); as well as the "God-fearing" themes in some of his films, that film scholars like to diminish his impact on cinema.

Admittedly his screenplays are steeped in melodrama due to the unyielding virtue of his protagonists. 'Way Down East' can't be excused of these same criticisms. At the same time, there is something in the story of a young woman tricked into a false marriage, before being spurned and tossed aside whilst pregnant, that still resonates with an audience today. Coupled together with Lillian Gish, who must surely be regarded as the one of the first and finest example of screen acting as an art form. Her innocent and pure performance, goes undiminished throughout the film, despite the fate that befalls her; but you always feel the underlying pain and anguish she feels through her guilty secret.

Richard Barthelmess is equally evocative as the admirer of the post traumatic Gish, who is at a loss as to his own rejection from Gish. You can sense the inner turmoil and tension between the two in the second half of the film. This translates superbly even today, with it's subtleties and feeling of unrequited love.

Unfortunately the same subtleties cannot be ascribed to the majority of the supporting cast; who are merely caricatures, whose indulgence only serve to add to the melodrama and aide Griffith's moral diatribe. That said, it is still a story that grips you, and there are more than obvious parallel's to Thomas Hardy's 'Tess of the D'Urbevilles', despite this being adapted from an entirely different stage play.
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