The Greatest Question (1919)

Drama | 28 December 1919

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HISTORY

The continuity contains the subtitle "a story of the strange meandering river of life." The continuity also gives the names of the character played by George Nichols as "Martin Cain" and that played by Josephine Crowell as "Mrs. Cain," while reviews call them "Mr. and Mrs. Scrubble." Wid's credits D. W. Griffith with the scenario. Modern sources credit S. E. V. Taylor as the scenarist and James Smith as ... More Less

The continuity contains the subtitle "a story of the strange meandering river of life." The continuity also gives the names of the character played by George Nichols as "Martin Cain" and that played by Josephine Crowell as "Mrs. Cain," while reviews call them "Mr. and Mrs. Scrubble." Wid's credits D. W. Griffith with the scenario. Modern sources credit S. E. V. Taylor as the scenarist and James Smith as editor. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
ETR
10 Jan 20
p. 613.
MPN
10 Jan 20
p. 691.
MPW
10 Jan 20
pp. 298-99.
New York Morning Telegraph
13 Mar 20
p. 2526.
New York Times
29 Dec 19
p. 7.
Photoplay
1 Mar 20
p. 64.
Variety
2 Jan 20
p. 74.
Wid's
4 Jan 20
p. 5.
DETAILS
Release Date:
28 December 1919
Copyright Claimant:
D. W. Griffith
Copyright Date:
16 December 1919
Copyright Number:
LP14554
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in feet):
6,224
Length(in reels):
6
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Four-year-old Nellie Jarvis witnesses the murder and burial of a girl by a man and his wife, but as she grows older, her memory of the event becomes vague. Nellie goes to live with the poor Hilton family after her parents die, but when John, the eldest son, goes to war, Nellie goes to work for the brutal Cains, who, unknown to her, murdered the girl. After John dies and Mrs. Hilton has a vision of him at the moment of death, the Hiltons, on the verge of selling their farm, go to John's grave where his ghost advises them to keep it. The next day oil is found on their land. The youngest Hilton son, Jimmie, who loves Nellie, goes to tell her the news and rescues her just as Mrs. Cain, who discovered her husband trying to rape Nellie, is about to murder her because Nellie now remembers them as murderers. The Cains are arrested and Nellie and Jimmie look forward to a happy ... +


Four-year-old Nellie Jarvis witnesses the murder and burial of a girl by a man and his wife, but as she grows older, her memory of the event becomes vague. Nellie goes to live with the poor Hilton family after her parents die, but when John, the eldest son, goes to war, Nellie goes to work for the brutal Cains, who, unknown to her, murdered the girl. After John dies and Mrs. Hilton has a vision of him at the moment of death, the Hiltons, on the verge of selling their farm, go to John's grave where his ghost advises them to keep it. The next day oil is found on their land. The youngest Hilton son, Jimmie, who loves Nellie, goes to tell her the news and rescues her just as Mrs. Cain, who discovered her husband trying to rape Nellie, is about to murder her because Nellie now remembers them as murderers. The Cains are arrested and Nellie and Jimmie look forward to a happy future. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.