Film Reviews, Short Review

Orphans of the Storm (1921)


Perhaps it is as much to do with the severely low expectations I had going into it, but Orphans of the Storm was nowhere near as bad as expected. In one of his last commercially successful films, DW Griffith tells us of the French Revolution, or at least his version of it. The title cards frequently refer to Robespierre as a “pussy-footer,” “anarchist,” and a “Bolshevik,” demonstrating clearly Griffith’s complete lack of any basic grasp of facts. However, the scale and visual ambition of the film holds up even after more than 90 years. The two Gish sisters, and in particular Lillian, are simply divine, lighting up the screen in a way that only silent stars could do. Ultimately it is a decent enough epic melodrama once you get over the political hilarity of the film’s message.


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