“The Children Pay” Reviewed by Thomas C. Kennedy (MOTOGRAPHY – Chicago, November 25, 1916)

MOTOGRAPHY – Chicago, November 25, 1916.

“The Children Pay”

Lillian Gish Featured in Triangle-Fine Arts Drama.

Reviewed by Thomas C. Kennedy

While touching, very lightly touching, upon a big theme, “The Children Pay,” is a combination of romance and straight drama in which neither becomes “important.” Produced by Eloyd Ingraham and featuring Lillian Gish, “The Children Pay” has some strongly appealing moments, though these are really more to be attributed to the average person’s appreciation of the unhappy position of the children of divorced parents than anything possessed of the story of the characters Frank E. Wood worked his scenario about.

The Children Pay - Lillian Gish
The Children Pay – Lillian Gish

The country town where the story opens has life-like qualities, and pleasing ones. Also there is a lively note sustained throughout the course of the action. And the outcome is that “The Children Pay” is quite interesting. In the beginning we find Millicent and her sister Jean living with a kindly old nurse in a country town. Both these girls have been given to understand that they are to hold themselves apart from the other children of the community, probably because their parents are divorced. Millicent experiences her first joy of companionship with the outside world when a young law student pays a visit to the little home after much scheming to strike up an acquaintance. Just when the girls are beginning to like their home an order demanding their presence in a court to decide whether the father or mother is to be given custody of the children is received. The judge decides to give the younger into the care of the mother and Millicent to the father, who has married again. Thus things go along, with both children suffering the stigma of their parents’ actions, until another court proceeding results. Millicent’s friend is now a lawyer and he defends the children. As he has had no opportunity to prepare a case, of course he plunges into a moving and eloquent citation of the children’s unhappiness. Then he proposes that Millicent should marry some worthy young man who could give Millicent a nice home and permit Jean to live with her. The young lawyer, as nearly as he can figure it, is just the man and as Millicent takes the same view there is a marriage performed almost immediately.

The lawyer’s proposal that Millicent marry, we think, will be received with some smiling, perhaps laughing. But up to this point the picture is fairly entertaining so it would be a grave error to condemn a photoplay with so weak a termination to a story that starts promisingly and maintains a good thread of interest.

Lillian Gish, 1916, I.V.
Lillian Gish, 1916, I.V.

Lillian Gish gives a performance that measures up to her regular average. Millicent’s distress, amounting to mental panic, when Jean is taken away by the detective is done remarkably well by Miss Gish. Violet Wilkie as Jean makes one wonder whether she is really a girl or a young woman playing the part. Certain it is that she weeps too much, since she does it so unattractively. When Jean weeps you think it is because a pin is sticking into her flesh, whereas she is crying because of her unhappy mental state. A rather good cast includes Ralph Lewis, Jennie Lee, Carl Stockdale, Loyola O’Connor, Alma Reubens and Keith Armour.

The Children Pay - Lillian Gish
The Children Pay – Lillian Gish

 

Lillian Gish …………………………………………………….… Millicent

Violet Wilkey ………………………….… Jean – Millicent’s sister

Keith Armour …………………………………………. Horace Craig

Ralph Lewis …….. Theodore Ainsley – the Girls’ Father

Loyola O’Connor … Elinor Ainsley – The Girls’ Mother

Alma Rubens …………… Editha – The Girls’ Stepmother

Jennie Lee ……………………… Susan – the Girls’ Governess

Robert Lohmeyer ……………………………………. Signor Zucca

Carl Stockdale …………………………………………… Judge Mason

Tom Wilson ………………………………………………………… Officer

 

Motography (Nov. 1916) The Children Pay
Motography (Nov. 1916) The Children Pay

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