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The Greatest Question (1919)

An orphan girl is given shelter by a farm family, but soon finds herself in the clutches of a murderous farmer and his wife.

Director:

D.W. Griffith

Writers:

William Hale (novel), Stanner E.V. Taylor
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Cast

Credited cast:
Lillian Gish ... Nellie Jarvis
Robert Harron ... Jimmie Hilton
Ralph Graves ... John Hilton Jr.
Eugenie Besserer ... Mrs. Hilton
George Fawcett ... Mr. Hilton
Tom Wilson ... Uncle Zeke
George Nichols ... Martin Cain
Josephine Crowell ... Mrs. Cain
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Katherine Albert Katherine Albert
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Storyline

An orphan girl is given shelter by a farm family, but soon finds herself in the clutches of a murderous farmer and his wife.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

religion | based on novel | See All (2) »

Taglines:

Plays on the emotions of men and women like an inspired musician on a harp (Print Ad- Washington Herald, ((Washington D.C.)) 11 January 1920)

Genres:

Drama

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

28 December 1919 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

El mayor problema See more »

Filming Locations:

Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Color:

Black and White (tinted)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Crazy Credits

Note - Anyone advertising a picture as a Griffith production without the name "Griffith" and trademark "DG" on each film is guilty of fraudulent advertising. See more »

Connections

References The Birth of a Nation (1915) See more »

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User Reviews

Underrated Gem
29 February 2008 | by Michael_ElliottSee all my reviews

Greatest Question, The (1919)

**** (out of 4)

D.W. Griffith film that throws in every genre he ever worked in and although the thing turns way too sappy there's still enough here to make this one of the best and most overlooked silents I've seen. After her parents die, an orphan (Lillian Gish) is offered room and love by some poor farmers and their two sons. One of the sons goes off to fight in WW1 but the other (Robert Harron) soon starts a relationship with the orphan. When the other brother is killed, the family is close to losing the farm so the orphan goes to stay with another couple and work for them. This evil couple holds a secret from the orphan's past but in present times they also abuse her any way they can. This was one of four films Griffith made for First National and even he admits that he rushed through all of them because he didn't want to make any for this studio. Even with that said this is certainly one of the best films of his career with all the elements of previous classics. The film has high suspense, terrific drama, romance and pretty much everything else. The ending with the orphan about to lose her life to the abusive farmers contains the suspense. There's terrific comedy in one scene where the girl and the son walk past a graveyard. There's a wonderful romantic scene where the brother first tries to kiss the girl. Not to mention some very dark elements including the farmer trying to rape the girl. As you can tell, everything's here and it's perfectly captured with terrific direction and editing from Griffith. Then, of course, there's Gish who turns in a beautiful performance. The rest of the cast does too but this is Gish's show all the way. She's got one of the most beautiful and emotional faces, which is certainly important here with all the stages she has to play.


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