The Mother and the Law

This is the Modern story from Intolerance reedited by Griffith with changes and additions for release as a separate feature in 1919. Griffith had started shooting it in 1915, before The Birth of a Nation. On its own, it is one of Griffith's most moving tales of social realism, picturing the victimization of the working class by the “autocratic industrial overlords.” The portrayals by Mae Marsh, as the country girl who loses her father, husband, and baby to the cruelties of city life, and by Robert Harron, as the boy who falls into a life of crime from which he is unable to extricate himself, epitomize the best of naturalistic pantomime. The cross-cutting of Harron's last minute rescue from the gallows works a tear-evoking catharsis of the emotions.

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