“Over There” with the Nobility and an All Star Cast (“The Great Love”) – By Mae Tinee – Chicago Tribune – 1918

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Chicago Tribune – Sunday 11 August 1918 Page 46

“Over There” with the Nobility and an All Star Cast

“The Great Love”

  • Produced by D.W. Griffith
  • Directed by D.W. Griffith
  • Presented at the Orchestra Hall

The Cast:

  • Jim Young of Youngstown …..…..….. Robert Harron
  • Sir Roger Brighton ……………..…. Henry B. Walthall
  • Jessie Lovewell ………………..……………. Gloria Hope
  • Susie Broadplains ………………….………. Lillian Gish
  • John Broadplains …………………… Maxfield Stanley
  • The Rev. Josephus Broadplains ..… George Fawcett
  • Mlle. Corintee ……………..…………. Rosemary Theby
  • Mr. Seymour of Brasil, formerly of Berlin …

… George Seigmann

By Mae Tinee

“The Great Love” is more absorbing than the average super-feature for three reasons. Because of its intimate and authentic relation to the great war. Because of the titled English folk who make their debut into motion picture during its seven reels. Because D.W. Griffith produced it. It abounds in the “touches” which have made this producer famous and is a thing of beauty as to its setting and scenery. The truth of the matter is, however, that Mr. Griffith has made many better pictures.

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The cast of “The Great Love” is practically the same as that enacting “Hearts of the World.” It has the addition of Henry Walthall, who more heavily lined and world weary than when he left the Griffith fold, is back again doing excellent work, although cast as the leading villain in the piece.

DW Griffith shooting a scene from The Great Love 1918
DW Griffith shooting a scene from The Great Love 1918

The English society folk appearing, whose names Mr. Griffith rolls like sweet morsels under his tongue, include Princess Alexandra, the Princess of Monaco, the Countess of Masserene, Lady John Lavery, the Countess of Droghda, Lady Diana Manners, Miss Elizabeth Asquith, the Hon. Mrs. Montagu, Miss Bettina Stuart-Wortley, and Miss Violet Keppel. The ladies are shown at a charity bazaar, in hospital and munition work.

The Great Love, Lillian Gish and Henry Walthall
The Great Love, Lillian Gish and Henry Walthall

And now the story:

Jim Young of Youngstown, Pa., white-hot over the German atrocities in Belgium, enlists in the British army. In the army camp on the outskirts of London he receives his training. He is sauntering through a suburb while on leave of absence when he meets a young person called Susie Broadplains, daughter of a curate. Susie is a silly little thing whose aspiration to become a great coquette is much hampered by the difficulties she has in managing her hands and feet. Though badly dressed and combed, Susie realizes to some extent the softening effects of tulle, and when in doubt ties herself up in it and feels that the world is hers. She and the young American – himself just a gawky boy – become deeply interested in one another. There is almost an engagement between them when he is sent to the front.

Lillian Gish - The Great Love (1918)
Lillian Gish – The Great Love (1918)

If Susie’s aunt hadn’t died and left her 20.000 Pounds, when Jim Young of Youngstown Pr., returned he would have found conditions unchanged, I suppose. But a little lump of money like that is bound to cause a splash. So Susie is marceled and courted by others than himself when the soldier returns. Chief among her suitors is an unscrupulous fortune hunter, a Sir Roger Brighton, who is much involved with a bunch of radicals, who wear the camouflage of pacifism only to conceal their machinations in behalf of the German government.

And now we come upon plots and counterplots, scenes of battle and airship raids, with the story of Susie and her suitors threading through it all. The production is weak as to plot, but you don’t in at the least mind this, for the reasons I quoted in the first paragraph. If you have liked Lillian Gish before you will care for her more than ever as little Susie Broadplains. I, myself, whom she has always given the fidgets, thought her work splendid. I want you to specially notice two of the close-ups of her. In them she is exquisite.

The Great Love 1918 - Original Film Poster
The Great Love 1918 – Original Film Poster

Such players as Robert Harron, George Fawcett and George Seigmann need no commendation, but one likes to hand it to them just the same. They are splendid. Gloria Hope as the wronged sweetheart of Sir Roger and Rosemary Theby as a German agent were excellent.

Now when I saw the picture, the censors were making considerable fuss about several scenes and one subtitle. Uncalled for fuss! There was nothing in the production the morning I saw it from start to finish that the average clean minded citizen should object to.

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