#9 Orphans of the Storm (1921)

So far, D.W. Griffith is taking over this list! And why shouldn’t he? No filmmaker of that era could tell a story the way he could. Orphans of the Storm was D.W. Griffith’s last melodrama and the last film for real- life sisters Lillian and Dorothy Gish. This is a story of two sisters who look out for each other but get separated in the midst of the storm- the French Revolution to be exact. Write in if you remember your school days when your teacher lectured about the French Revolution. 

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The chemistry between Lillian and Dorothy Gish is so strong and undeniable considering their bond is nothing that’s necessary to fake. The beauty of this story is how these two sisters will stop at nothing to find each other whether a cute guy proposes marriage or is about to get guillotined. After all, the Gish sisters were in 28 films together and Lillian was even at her sister’s side when she died in 1968. Of course this wouldn’t be a Griffith film without different colored tints to represent the mood, the soft-toned tints, and epic battle scenes. Griffith tends to use politically social themes about how the world can face its downhill if the human race doesn’t learn how to get along. Write in the comments if you agree or disagree with that.

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This above scene is an example of how the power of words are useful weapons to better change the world. I love how this scene was filmed when you see a close up of Danton as he speaks to the court to convince the court not to guillotine Louise. Then it cuts to a wide shot of him with the audience cheering for him as if he’s the headliner of the half time show. This brilliant quote ties up Griffith’s message: “I pled not for these alone- but against TYRANNY- HATRED- for MERCY- LOVE- that alone will save our suffering nation!”

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While I normally acknowledge D.W. Griffith’s films for being the first of something, this is the one film that gets acknowledged for his lasts of something. But that doesn’t stop us from remembering his films for being landmarks in cinema historyAre there any films of D.W. Griffith after Orphans of the Storm that felt like a success to you?

Here is D.W. Griffith’s final epic melodrama and respond with your thoughts on it:

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