That was the story which DW Griffith had already transferred to the screen in the silent era .The great American director transposed Adolphe d'Ennery's tear-jerker,one of the many melodramas which thrived in the French nineteenth century ,during the revolution ,which led the scriptwriters to staggering scenes where Danton himself saved the heroine from the guillotine.
Maurice TOurneur (Jack's father)was more faithful to the original novel.His movie compares favorably to Griffith's ,but Renée Saint-Cyr does not equal Lilian Gish though.The orgy is at least as impressive (and as risqué for the time)as in the silent work.Best performance comes from Yvette GUilbert, the hateful shrew ,La Frochard ,who forces poor blind Louise to beg in the street.Tourneur' s directing and pictures are better than the incredible story which accumulates the coincidences all along Henriette's and Louise's martyrdom:La Frochard rocking her dead son (a giant),Louise teaching André to pray in a church ,and the (female) prisoners leaving for the colonies are scenes which can still grab today's audience ,provided that they love melodramas of course.
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