Way Down East


Time Out says

Griffith's Victorian perspective on illegitimacy (plus his view of maternity as 'woman's Gethsemane', etc) threatens for a while to make Way Down East the tract on monogamy that it announces itself as. It has two lifelines out of that morass: one is Lillian Gish, whose virtuoso performance makes the heroine's growth from gullible innocence to bitter experience credible; the other is Griffith's old standby, the reliable mechanism of suspense melodrama, here escalating busily and inventively right up to the famous ice-floe climax. The result is a good deal more interesting than camp, but Russ Meyer fans won't have any problem perceiving this as a rural prototype for Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, with its classical simplicity, its comic relief yokels, its villainous squire, and its matchless moral.


Release details

123 mins

Cast and crew

DW Griffith
Anthony Paul Kelly, DW Griffith
Lillian Gish
Richard Barthelmess
Lowell Sherman
Burr McIntosh
Edgar Nelson