Home Sweet Home

813. HOME SWEET HOME (1914-USA). Directed and co-written by D.W. GRIFFITH. With LILLIAN GISH, DOROTHY GISH, HENRY WALTHALL, MAE MARSH, BLANCHE SWEET, ROBERT HARRON, DONÂALD CRISP. “Suggested by the life of John Howard Payne and his immortal song . . . [this play] is not bioÂgraphical, but photo-dramatic and allegorical, and might apply lo the lives and works of many men of genius, whose failings in private life have been outweighed by their great gifts to humanity. PayneÑactor, poet, dramÂatist, critic, world wanderer, he who had never known a home since early boyhood; amid the bitterness of adversity conceived this song.” Starting out as what appeared to be a simple one-reel life story of a wastrel and dissolute young chap, it appears Griffith expanded the idea into a feature in 1914, the first year he started to direct feature-length films. Despite the all-star cast, and the three episodes tacked onto the biographical prologue, the Reliance-Majestic release was a box office flop. After the melodramatic career of Payne is told, and his sad death occurs “in a far land” (Saudi Arabia to guess from the costumes), we’re shown a western romance (“The Apple Pie Bride”), a drama set in a fishing town (‘The Brothers Who Hate”), and “The MarÂriage of Roses and Lilies,” Each vignette shows how the song of John Howard Payne lifts people, about to fall prey to baser instincts to a higher level of behavior and conduct. “Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam, be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.” Silent film with music score, correct projection speed. 76 minutes. D.W. Griffith