Orphans of the Storm

Orphans of the Storm

Director: D.W. Griffith Cast: Lillian Gish, Dorothy Gish, Joseph Schildkraut


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Having turned the creaky old stage melodrama Way Down East into a money-spinning film, director D.W. Griffith set about to perform the same magic with the barnstorming theatrical piece The Two Orphans. Adolphe Philippe Dennery's play told the story of two orphaned girls, one blind, who are separated early on and undergo innumerable deprivations before their tearful reunion. Though the play took place in France, it had nothing whatsoever to do with the French Revolution; this didn't stop Griffith from plunking the storyline smack dab in the middle of that late-18th-century maelstrom, allowing him full scope for the spectacular scenes which had brought him worldwide fame. Lillian Gish plays Henriette, the sighted sister, while Dorothy Gish is cast as the visually impaired Louise. Henriette brings Louise to Paris, in search of a surgeon who might be able to restore her sister's sight. Henriette is kidnapped by a lascivious nobleman, leaving Louise to wander helplessly about until she too is "stolen" by a family of beggars. Rescued by kindhearted aristocrat Chevalier de Vaudrey (Joseph Schildkraut), Henriette begins the arduous search for her lost sister. Just before the film's intermission, Henriette hears Louise begging on the streets. Before they can be reunited, Henriette is arrested by minions of the evil nobleman who'd earlier tried to seduce her. Released from the Bastille by the revolutionaries, Henriette resumes her search, only to be arrested again--this time because she has consorted with the aristocracy, and is therefore a candidate for the guillotine. The stage is thus set for a thrilling "race to the rescue" climax, and of course the reuniting of the two orphans. Orphans of the Storm was filmed at Griffith's east coast studio in Mamaroneck, New York, which explains why the exteriors are always so overcast. In an effort to be topical, Griffith took every opportunity possible to equate the French revolution with the recent Bolshevik rebellion in Russia, and to warn his audience of the dangers of mob rule (this from a man who glorified the Ku Klux Klan in Birth of a Nation!) The film opened to excellent reviews and great business; Griffith, who always placed art above commerce, poured virtually every penny of profit into his "smaller" project, Isn't Life Wonderful, which died at the box office.

Product Details

Release Date: 07/09/2015
UPC: 0644827155224
Original Release: 1922
Source: Reel Vault
Sound: [silent]
Sales rank: 42,126

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Lillian Gish Henriette Girard
Dorothy Gish Louise Girard
Joseph Schildkraut Chevalier de Vaudrey
Frank Losee Count de Linieres
Katherine Emmett Countess de Linieres
Morgan Wallace Marquis de Praille
Lucille La Verne His mother
Sheldon Lewis Jacques Frochard
Frank Puglia Pierre Frochard
Creighton Hale Picard
Leslie King Jacques Forget-Not
Monte Blue Danton
Sidney Herbert Robespierre
Adolphe Lestina The Doctor
Kate Bruce Sister Genevieve
Kenny Delmar The Chevalier as a Boy
Lee Kohlmar Louis XVI
Rose Smith Dancer
Louis Wolheim Executioner
Adrian D. Worker Doctor
Flora Finch Starving Peasant
Frank O'Connor Actor

Technical Credits
D.W. Griffith Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Billy Bitzer Cinematographer
Louis F. Gottschalk Score Composer
Charles Kirk Production Designer
William Frederick Peters Score Composer
Rose Smith Editor
Hendrik Sartov Cinematographer
Edward Scholl Set Decoration/Design
James Smith Editor
Herbert Sutch Asst. Director

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