Photoplay Magazine February 1917
The Shadow Stage
The Children Pay
Here is the sanest, most humanly interesting five-reeler of the month, although in most of its episodes decidedly undramatic. It is such a story of drifting parents, an ever-widening domestic gulf, and the keen sorrows and quaint joys of a pair of little girls as you might expect from the pen of a young William Dean Howells. As a matter of fact, Frank E. Woods of Fine Arts wrote it, and there are deployed in its unrolling such redoubtable character persons as Ralph Lewis, Jennie Lee, Loyola O’Connor and Carl Stockdale. Miss O’Connor, as the demiartist mother, provides a remarkable exhibit of self-satisfied selfishness, wholly different from the usual sympathetic vehicle accorded her.
Lillian Gish plays Millicent, the oldest girl who is the focal center of all the activity. I have never seen Miss Gish draw a more real, interesting and believable young woman. She has literal pep and actual punch—two qualities which tradition says are extremely ungishy.
There are those who say the final legal situation is impossible. I don’t know. I do know that the body of the play is a page of life, of which the screen shows far too little.
Review by Julian Johnson – 1917