31 August 2001 | Snow Leopard
Rather Contrived, But Has Some Good Features
"The Burglar's Dilemma" is more preachy and contrived than a lot of Griffith's shorts, but it still shows many of his careful touches that make an otherwise implausible story worth watching. There is a lot of action and suspense, and a very good cast.
Lionel Barrymore and Henry B. Walthall head up the cast, playing two brothers who have some tensions in their relationship. The story then sets up a very dramatic but equally improbable situation, in order to comment on their relationship and, by extension, to make some general points about the ways that human beings treat each other.
This is one of a fair number of Griffith features in which he uses some strange or unlikely developments to make points that are, in themselves, perfectly good. It always seems a little odd, when watching such features, that he could not have thought of a more plausible way of making the same points - but, some of his ideas do make for interesting viewing.
Overall, this film probably has just enough to be worth a look; it's just that it's a bit too heavy-handed to be considered as one of the era's or the director's better features.