TRUE HEART SUSIE (director/writer: D.W. Griffith; screenwriter: Marian Fremont; cinematographer: G.W. Bitzer; editor: James Smith; cast: Lillian Gish (True Heart Susie), Robert Harron (William Jenkins), Clarine Seymour (Bettina Hopkins), Kate Bruce (Bettina’s aunt), Raymond Cannon (Sporty Malone), Carol Dempster (Bettina’s friend), Loyola O’Connor (Susie’s aunt), George Fawcett (The Stranger); Runtime: 86; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: D.W. Griffith; Grapevine Video; 1919-Silent)
“Griffith couldn’t be more sentimental and moralistic.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
A bucolic silent romantic melodrama directed by D.W. Griffith (“Intolerance”/”Hearts of the World”/”Broken Blossoms”) that isdedicated to the many women who never find their true loved ones. Griffith couldn’t be more sentimental and moralistic (the bad girl is adorned in powder and paint), though as corny and tear jerking as it gets it’s still well-acted and crafted.
Susie (Lillian Gish) is a plain country girl with a big-heart who ever since childhood loves her neighbor Bill (Robert Harron). The unselfish girl, without Bill’s knowledge, sacrifices part of her farm to send the boy to an out-of-town college (she sells her favorite cow Daisy). He thinks his unknown benefactor is a strange man he once met, who predicted great things for him. Bill works his way through school as the dorm waiter, and fights those who call him by the unflattering nickname of Butter. He visits Susie sporting a mustache, and graduates to be a minister. But the callow and dull lad is seduced by party girl Bettina (Clarine Seymour), who wants a convenient marriage with someone she can pull the wool over his eyes. While married, she continues to party with her friend Sporty and her girlfriends without Bill’s knowledge. It becomes a question if the good girl Susie can find a way to get together again with Bill, her lost soul mate.
Warning: spoiler to follow.
Well, if you are in suspense over the ending, you can rest assured there’s a happy one. The mushy script from Marian Fremont and Griffith has a perfectly healthy Betty die of pneumonia. then with her out of the way, the stoical Susie refuses to even now tell Bill all she’s done on his behalf. But, Susie’s Aunt (Loyola O’Connor) can stand it no longer (and neither can I) and tells Bill the truth. The big lunk then takes Susie in his arms and pledges eternal devotion, apparently he’s no longer confused about who he loves.
REVIEWED ON 5/28/2007 GRADE: C-
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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