Editorial Chats with Exhibitors on David W. Griffith’s “True Heart Susie”

  • EXHIBITOR S PRESS BOOK
  • CHARLES KENMORE ULRICH, Editor.

Editorial Chats with Exhibitors

on David W. Griffith’s Latest Artcraft Picture,

“True Heart Susie”

Recognized as one of the leading figures of the motion picture world, David Wark Griffith is widely known as a producer of high grade cinema spectacles. He created “The Birth of a Nation”, “Intolerance,” “Hearts of the World,” “The Great Love,” “A Romance of Happy Valley,” and “The Girl Who Stayed At Home.” All of these productions are superb box office attractions and exhibitors need not be told that they have distinct drawing power.

D.W. Griffith
D.W. Griffith, internationally known movie director and producer, greets the press in this 1922 photo before sailing for Europe. (AP Photo)

David W. Griffith, Producer

AMONG the great producers of the world, there are few, if any, whose grasp of the technique of their art is more profound than that which distinguishes all of David W. Griffith’s  productions. Mr. Griffith long ago demonstrated his artistry and mastery of cinema technique, but in none of his pictures are these qualifications more delightfully in evidence than in his latest Artcraft picture “True Heart Susie.” This is a charming theme delightfully handled, and it doubtless will win the esteem of an appreciative public. That it will be acclaimed a pastoral classic second only in beauty of thought and action to “A Romance of Happy Valley” seems to be assured. Lillian Gish, Leading- Woman Lillian Gish, who plays the leading role in “True Heart Susie,” is a charming actress who has an enormous following all over the country. She has appeared in many of Mr. Griffith’s productions and her artistry is as exquisite as it is captivating. Miss Gish has a winsome personality and reinforced as it is by mimetic talents of the highest order, it is no wonder that under the tutelage of Mr. Griffith she should be hailed as one of the most finished screen artists in the world.

griffith david wark_737

Marion Fremont, author of “True Heart Susie” is a recognized writer of exceptional cleverness as her latest effort amply proves. Miss Fremont has done exceptional work in the past and her latest achievement ranks among her best.

True Heart Susie
True Heart Susie

An Appealing Story

SUSIE MAY TRUEHEART, an awkward, straightforward, truehearted school girl of Hoosier county, loves with wondrous loyalty William Jenkins, a boy neighbor. She watches him adoringly at school and she suffers severely when she is compelled to go above him in the spelling class, because she is a better speller than he. One day a politician promises to give the boy a start in life, and he and Susie await the fulfillment of the promise which never comes. Susie decides that she will send William to school herself, for she wants the man she marries to be educated. The accumulated butter and eggs money is devoted to that purpose and William goes away to school, quite unaware of the sacrifices Susie is making for him. He goes through college and is ordained minister. Through the years Susie treasures his few letters to her. Appointed to the pastorate of the village church, William returns home and falling in love with Betty Hopkins, a light-headed beautiful butterfly from the next town, he marries her. Hiding her heavy heart beneath a smile, Susie carries flowers to the happy couple at the wedding. William soon discovers that Betty is not his real helpmate and he vaguely realizes that Susie alone has roused love in his breast. Betty is a little unfaithful and contracting a cold while attending a dance with Sporty Malone, she dies before she is able to confess to William that Susie had protected her for his sake. In time, William and Susie come to an understanding and both find their long-delayed happiness.

True Heart Susie
True Heart Susie

 Admirable Support

AS usual, Mr. Griffith has provided an exceptionally clever cast of players for this production. Robert Harron, a player of unusual ability, plays opposite Miss Gish, while Clarine Seymour, who won fame as “Cutie Beautiful” in “The Girl That Stayed At Home,” has the role of Betty Hopkins, a girl wife. Others in the cast include Loyola O’Connor, Walter Higby, Kate Bruce and Raymond Cannon.

Billy Bitzer cca 1919
Billy Bitzer cca 1919

W.G. Bitzer, Photographer

ONE of the best known cameramen in the country is W. G. Bitzer, who long has been identified with the Griffith producing organization. Mr. Bitzer has photographed many of Mr. Griffith’s successes, but his skill never has been displayed to better advantage than in “True Heart Susie.”

True Heart Susie
True Heart Susie

THE WOMAN WHO WAITS

She is the Central Character of David W. Griffith’s Great Artcraft Picture “True Heart Susie” Does Man or Woman Do the Wooing? Is There Anything More Brutal than the Treatment Civilization Gives to Womanhood? “True Heart Susie” is Dedicated to the Plain Women of the World. WHICH stands the best chances of getting married? Which does a man choose for a wife? The painted and powdered, fluffy, short-skirted, silk-stockinged coquette, or the plain honest to goodness, true-hearted girl? Since the beginning of time men have told women that the honest heart and plain simplicity mark the kind of girl a man wanted for a mate. Does he mean this, or does he only think he means it? Does the plain, real girl, following out her duty through life to God and man win the best husband? Have you read the story of how many chorus girls have made brilliant matches? Not that there may not be plenty of good girls in the chorus, but when she is, does she not know that fluffy ruffles and gaudy clothes mean more to a man’s heart than sweet simplicity? This is the subject of “True Heart Susie.” Another point—does man or women do the wooing? “True Heart Susie” is dedicated to the plain women of the world—just the ordinary, honest to goodness girls —the women of this day of modern civilization. In theory, a woman is free to marry whom she pleases. Is this the truth? In the first place there are many more women than men in the world. In what sort of an environment does civilization put a young girl? Childhood past womanhood—all the old, primitive cry of womanhood that screams within her—to love and to be loved —that cannot be drowned by all the preachments, the philosophies and religions created since the dawn of time until the last speck of life left on this earthly planet.

True Heart Susie
True Heart Susie

Say it, preach, talk what we will—nature must have her way. To attempt to stop this is death or perversion. Is there anything more brutal in the world than the treatment civilization gives to womankind ? The Woman that Waits—From New York to California, through all our civilized globe—the woman is taught she must wait—it is the man who must make the advances. Suppose you were an ordinary, plain girl—what chance do you stand of marrying the man of your choice? You have no more choice than a weed in an ordinary garden that desires the sun. On front porch and back porch, in church and on sidewalks you may see the millions searching after happiness. For women, the greater part of this means the right man —where is he? You sit on the porch in any one of the thousand country towns from Maine to California and wait for the man to come—and wait, and wait. They go by—the ones that you would like—it is a free country ; you have your choice. But how, in the name of God, are you going to make that choice? Most of them either keep on waiting and he never comes, or else take some poor pitiful, stunted, weak-kneed, swaybacked, imitation of her ideal and, holding this poor pitiful excuse of humanity close to her heart goes on through the rest of her life lying to herself that this is the ideal creature. The Woman That Waits—the heroine in “True Heart Susie” is one of these girls—just a sweet, ordinary girl who hasn’t the money to buy clothes she would like, with a heart as big as humanity, palpitating with sweetness, love and self sacrifice, but the heart is hidden behind plain clothes, beneath an ordinary exterior. What man in the world has eyes keen enough to look through this and see the beauty of the human heart? Wars may come and wars may go, but the search for happiness, the search for love, goes on forever —and no battle more pitiful, no struggle more heart-rending, no tragedy deeper than that in the little, sweet, tender heart of the woman who waits. Could you look into this heart you might see more sacrifices, more beauty, more God, than is enthroned in all the religions of the world. Laugh at religion, if you will, laugh at the stars if you are so pitifully low, laugh at the moon or a child’s face or a dying deer, or a man being crucified, but don’t, if you value your soul’s salvation, laugh at a woman that has been denied all life, whom we vulgarly call “an old maid”—one of those who have waited.

The Movies Mr. Griffith and Me (03 1969) - With Robert (Bobby) Harron in True Heart Susie 1919 — with Lillian Gish and Bobbie Harron.

David W. Griffith’s New Artcraft Picture, “True Heart Susie”, Beautiful Pastoral Romance Exerting Intense Heart Appeal Dainty Lillian Gish Has Leading Role and Clarine Seymour and Robert Harron Have Ideal Parts in This Exceptional Photoplay by Famous Producer

Susie May Trueheart, a delightfully awkward, straightforward, true hearted girl of Hoosier county, loves, with steadfast loyalty, William Jenkins, her boy neighbor across the way. At the little country school house she watches, adoringly, his every move, and suffers untold agonies when, because she is a better speller, she has to go above him. A small, live politician, looking after his fences as he passes through the town, calls William a bright lad, and half promises—in his desire to impress the simple country folk—to give the boy a start in life. Through the months that follow, William and Susie wait the fulfillment of the promise that was not made to be kept, looking for the letter that never comes. At last Susie decides for herself that William must not be disappointed ; she determines that the man she is to marry must be educated ; William is the man she is going to marry ; she herself will send him to school. She confides her plans to the spinster aunt with whom she lives.

Paramount and Artcraft Press Books (May-Jun 1919)

Auntie is quite unenthusiastic. But since the farm and everything on it was left to Susie by her mother, the girl has her way. The accumulated butter and egg money, the small amounts saved for luxuries, finally the cow, go to swell the fund that is to give William his start. Of all these sacrifices, William knows nothing. When at last a letter arrives with money orders and a receipt from the nearby country college for a year’s tuition, he takes it for granted—through his transports of delight—that the gift is from the self-styled philanthropist of the year before. William goes through college. He is ordained a minister. Through the years Susie waits for him, wholeheartedly, treasuring each of the few letters that he sends her, and finding crumbs of comfort in such noncommittal phrases as: “So far, I haven’t met anybody I like better than the people at home.” It is after William’s return home that Susie’s life tragedy occurs. The young man, self-consciously important as the newly appointed minister of the home church, falls head-over heels in love with Bettina Hopkins, a light-headed little butterfly from the next town, and marries her. Hiding her heavy heart beneath a smile of sacrifice that illumines her serious little face, Susie carries flowers at the simple country wedding. Following the marriage, matters at the parsonage do not progress smoothly. William finds that the girl of his dreams is a different being in real life. Curl papers take the place of curls, and interest in stories drive out interest in preparing meals. Vaguely, William realizes that he has made a mistake —that in Susie, and not Bettina he might have found his true mate. But it is too late now. Sadly, when he finds Susie looking at some letters in a hidden nook, he asks her if she is thinking of getting married, and advises her to be sure and find the right man. He fails utterly to sense that the letters Susie is reading, are his own—letters from the only man she can ever love.

Paramount and Artcraft Press Books (May-Jun 1919)

Bettina sees occasionally, members of the little fast set of the near-by town, whom she knew before her marriage. She dances with a former beau, Sporty Malone, and receives his kisses. But when William returns unexpectedly, convinces him that he was entirely mistaken in what he thought he saw. Later, Bettina attends a dance with Sporty and is caught in the rain on the way home, only to find—drenched and shivering—that she has lost her key and cannot get back into the house unobserved. In desperation she goes to Susie and is taken in for the night. Susie torturing her own heart, keeps Bettina’s secret—and again William is deceived. But the cold proves serious. It settles in the girl-wife’s lungs, and dances poor Bettina down into the Shadowy Halls of death. With her last words she tries to confess to William, but is unable, even then, to tell him the truth, dying as she had lived, a little unfaithful. After she has passed away, William begins the mistaken task of enshrining her in his memory—to the exclusion of any other love. Then, in time, he learns the truth that Bettina was—what she was; that Susie is—what she has always remained. So Susie at last comes into her own.

Paramount and Artcraft Press Books (May-Jun 1919)

    “TRUE HEART SUSIE”

               The Cast:

  • Susie May Trueheart                      Lillian Gish
  • Her Aunt                                           Loyola O’Connor
  • William Jenkins, a Minister          Robert Harron
  • His Father                                         Walter Higby
  • Betty Hopkins,                                 a Girl
  • Wife                                                   Clarine Seymour
  • Her Aunt                                           Kate Bruce
  • Sporty Malone                                 Raymond Cannon

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