Legendary director D.W. Griffith (INTOLERANCE) delivers another sweeping historical epic with this film, based on the d'Ennery and Corman play, THE TWO ORPHANS. Sisters Lillian and Dorothy Gish are the girls who become separated in the streets of eighteenth century Paris during the dramatic upheavals of the French Revolution. As Henriette (Lillian Gish) searches for her blind adopted sister Louise (Dorothy Gish), she falls in love with a kind and concerned young member of the aristocracy, Chevalier (Joseph Schildkraut). Unfortunately their love is doomed by her commoner status, and his callous uncle (Frank Losee), who railroads her off to prison to keep them apart. The revolution occurs, and Henriette is liberated, but then there's more trouble when mob rule causes chaos in the streets, the guillotine awaits Chevalier, and Louise remains just out of reach.
Griffith captures the class injustice at the heart of this story by contrasting scenes of lavish parties at the houses of the nobles with the abject poverty of the beggars outside. The thrilling use of crowds and meticulous historical accuracy make this an epic comparable in scope and theme to BIRTH OF A NATION, which is how Griffith undoubtedly meant it. The film is silent, with tinted scenes and film score.
Description by Image Entertainment:
D.W. Griffith's last great success, "Orphans of the Storm" is a handsome, whirlwind of a film starring Lillian and Dorothy Gish as sisters during the French Revolution. "Orphans" is a wonderful showcase for all the techniques that Griffith had developed, mastered and patented since the beginning of his career.
Director D.W. Griffith's silent historical saga features two orphaned sisters, one of whom is blind, living in eighteenth century Paris. The siblings are eventually torn apart; the sightless girl is brought up by criminals, the other by wanton, rich socialites. When they attempt to find each other once again, they run into two major obstacles: the French Revolution, and the guillotine's blade.
Essential Cinema |
Stage Play |
Theatrical release: December 28, 1921.
ORPHANS OF THE STORM was shot in Mamaroneck, New York, where director D.W. Griffith built a reconstruction of eighteenth century Paris.
The film is based on the play LES DEUX ORPHELINES (THE TWO ORPHANS) by Adolphe d'Ennery and Eugène Cormon.
According to the review in Variety, the film originally ran 170 minutes.