FROM THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART S 35mm RESTORATION
D.W. Griffith s penchant for Victorian melodrama reached its height of expression in WAY DOWN EAST. First performed in 1898, Lottie Blair Parker s play was one of the most successful stageworks ever written, a theatrical chestnut, heavy with sentiment, that cried out for the touch of the master. Griffith captured the appeal of Parker s original, while embossing it with devices borrowed from other popular melodramas, such as the climactic chase across an ice floe (inspired by stage adaptations of Uncle Tom s Cabin). Lillian Gish stars as a small-town girl who is seduced, impregnated, and cast aside by Lennox Sanderson, a wealthy playboy (Lowell Sherman). To escape the shame of having a fatherless child, Anna changes her name and starts a new life in a small farming community, where she meets David, an icon of male virtue and decency (Richard Barthelmess). Their delicate happiness is threatened when Lennox arrives in town, and word of Anna s unsavory past begins to spread.
- Mastered in HD from the Museum of Modern Art s 35mm restoration, with original color tints
- Score compiled from historic photoplay music, performed by The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra (2.0 Stereo)
- Excerpts from Lottie Blair Parker s original play
- Photos of William Brady s 1903 stage version
- Film Clip: The ice floe sequence of the Edison Studio s production of Uncle Tom s Cabin.
- Image gallery, including the original souvenir program book
- Notes on the preparation of the music score