Full page view
HISTORY

Following the opening title card and a title for D. W. Griffith's credit, the following statement appears: "A simple story of plain people." Before the story begins, the following written prologue is presented: "Since the beginning of time, man has been polygamous--even the saints of Biblical history--but today a better ideal is growing--an ideal of one man for one woman. Today woman brought up from childhood to expect one constant mate possibly suffers more than at any period in the history of mankind, because not yet has the man reached this high standard--except perhaps in theory." A brief written statement reading: "A remote village in New England some few years ago" appears as the action begins.
       The play Way Down East was based on a play by Parker entitled Annie Laurie which had been produced in Chicago in 1897. D. W. Griffith reportedly paid a record sum of $175,000 to William Brady for the rights to Way Down East which initially was to be made into a film by Brady's own company. Burr McIntosh played the role of Squire Bartlett in the Broadway production of Way Down East .
       The film was produced at the D. W. Griffith studio in Mamaroneck, Long Island. Some scenes were shot at White River Junction, VT. According to modern sources, Elmer Clifton directed some of these scenes; Leigh Smith and Herbert Sutch assisted in the production of these scenes and Lillian Gish's gowns were designed by Madame Lisette. The role of Kate Brewster was originally portrayed by Clarine Seymour, but Seymour died during the film's ... More Less

Following the opening title card and a title for D. W. Griffith's credit, the following statement appears: "A simple story of plain people." Before the story begins, the following written prologue is presented: "Since the beginning of time, man has been polygamous--even the saints of Biblical history--but today a better ideal is growing--an ideal of one man for one woman. Today woman brought up from childhood to expect one constant mate possibly suffers more than at any period in the history of mankind, because not yet has the man reached this high standard--except perhaps in theory." A brief written statement reading: "A remote village in New England some few years ago" appears as the action begins.
       The play Way Down East was based on a play by Parker entitled Annie Laurie which had been produced in Chicago in 1897. D. W. Griffith reportedly paid a record sum of $175,000 to William Brady for the rights to Way Down East which initially was to be made into a film by Brady's own company. Burr McIntosh played the role of Squire Bartlett in the Broadway production of Way Down East .
       The film was produced at the D. W. Griffith studio in Mamaroneck, Long Island. Some scenes were shot at White River Junction, VT. According to modern sources, Elmer Clifton directed some of these scenes; Leigh Smith and Herbert Sutch assisted in the production of these scenes and Lillian Gish's gowns were designed by Madame Lisette. The role of Kate Brewster was originally portrayed by Clarine Seymour, but Seymour died during the film's production and no footgage of her appears in the completed version.
       Way Down East was originally released on a road show basis with twenty companies, including symphonic orchestras and effects touring the first class theaters in the U.S. The film was shown in two parts with an intermission. Gish appeared in some performances in a staged prologue. Subsequent to the road show release, the film was released nationally by United Artists. Richard Barthelmess and Mary Hay married subsequent to the production of this film. According to modern sources, the climactic ice floe scene was shot at Orient Point, Long Island. The film was re-released in 1931 with synchronized sound added. Twentieth Century-Fox produced a film based on the same source in 1935; it was directed by Henry King and starred Rochelle Hudson and Henry Fonda (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1931-40 ). More Less

GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Exhibitors Trade Review
30 Oct 1920
p. 2318.
Motion Picture News
11 Sep 1920
p. 2071.
Moving Picture World
13 Nov 1920
p. 224.
NYDM
5 Jan 1918
pp. 12-13.
Variety
20 Aug 1920
p. 37.
Wid's
12 Sep 1920
p. 15.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
Under the personal dir of
PRODUCER
WRITER
PHOTOGRAPHY
ART DIRECTORS
Art dir
Tech dir
Art titles
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
SET DECORATOR
Set builder
MUSIC
Mus composed and selected by
Mus accompaniment
SOURCES
LITERARY
Based on the play Way Down East by Lottie Blair Parker as elaborated by Joseph R. Grismer (New York, 14 Dec 1903).
DETAILS
Release Date:
3 September 1920
Copyright Claimant:
D. W. Griffith, Inc.
Copyright Date:
3 September 1920
Copyright Number:
LP15906
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in reels):
13
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Faced with financial difficulties, innocent country girl Anna Moore goes to visit her rich Boston relatives, the Tremonts, to seek aid. There she becomes the victim of a false marriage to playboy Lennox Sanderson. Deserted by the man she thought was her husband, Anna is left penniless and alone to face the birth of her nameless child. After her mother's death, Anna takes refuge in a rooming house in Belden where her baby dies. Turned out by an unsympathetic landlady, the brokenhearted mother finds employment at the farm of Squire Bartlett, a stern but just man, who believes in a strict accounting for sin. The squire's son David falls in love with Anna, and she is about to accept her new found happiness when Sanderson appears and the squire learns that Anna had lived with him in sin. He turns the girl from the house in a blinding snow storm, and hysterical, she stumbles onto the frozen river where she faints. Her rescue by David from the drifting ice and certain death brings about their union after the squire and his wife learn Anna's true ... +


Faced with financial difficulties, innocent country girl Anna Moore goes to visit her rich Boston relatives, the Tremonts, to seek aid. There she becomes the victim of a false marriage to playboy Lennox Sanderson. Deserted by the man she thought was her husband, Anna is left penniless and alone to face the birth of her nameless child. After her mother's death, Anna takes refuge in a rooming house in Belden where her baby dies. Turned out by an unsympathetic landlady, the brokenhearted mother finds employment at the farm of Squire Bartlett, a stern but just man, who believes in a strict accounting for sin. The squire's son David falls in love with Anna, and she is about to accept her new found happiness when Sanderson appears and the squire learns that Anna had lived with him in sin. He turns the girl from the house in a blinding snow storm, and hysterical, she stumbles onto the frozen river where she faints. Her rescue by David from the drifting ice and certain death brings about their union after the squire and his wife learn Anna's true story. +

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

TOP SEARCHES

CASABLANCA

During World War II, Casablanca, Morocco is a waiting point for throngs of desperate refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe. Exit visas, which are necessary to leave the country, are at ... >>

CITIZEN KANE

Seventy-year-old newspaper tycoon Charles Foster Kane dies in his palatial Florida home, Xanadu, after uttering the single word “Rosebud.” While watching a newsreel summarizing the years during which Kane ... >>

REAR WINDOW

Laid up with a broken leg during the height of summer, renowned New York magazine photographer L. B. “Jeff” Jeffries enters his last week of home confinement, bored and ... >>

RAGING BULL

In 1941, at a boxing match in Cleveland, Ohio, pandemonium breaks out when Jake La Motta, an up-and-coming young boxer, loses a decision to Jimmy Reeves, suffering his first ... >>

CITY LIGHTS

At an outdoor dedication ceremony, a tramp is discovered sleeping in the arms of a statue as it is being unveiled before a crowd. He is chased into ... >>

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.