28 September 2018 | boblipton
Looking For A Story To Challenge Him
Marion Leonard and David Miles quarrel. At first it seems nothing, but arguments grow more heated and they decide to part. Some time later -- long enough for the part in his hair to grow white with flour, though not hers -- he is seated in his study and, feeling poorly, decides to write a letter. As it is delivered and Miss Leonard -- whose wild temperament is indicated by the cigarette she takes a few puffs from -- shows the letter to the party, who grow merry. They decide to take the party to Mr. Miles.
It's nine months since D.W. Griffith took over at Biograph, and his command of film has grown immeasurably. The pantomime of the quarrel ranges from small, seemingly unconsidered gestures, to large, angry ones. His crowd scene at the party shows fine group dynamics and flow. Everyone is doing something that makes sense, including the last man out the door, making sure he has a bottle of champagne. Finally, the cross-cutting is there, from Mr. Miles in his room to the party, all working to raise tension as the race begins. It is not a race within the story, but one in the audience's mind: will they get there in time? Even though no one knows of any threat?
It's still a trifle of a split-reel melodrama with a heavy-handed message. The basic techniques, however, are finally in place.