True Heart Susie

(1919)

Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance

Movies That Made Us Critics: True Heart Susie

Transcript for Movies That Made Us Critics: True Heart Susie

IGNATIY VISHNEVETSKY:
Now, my first film would be TRUE HEART SUSIE.  This is my favorite D.W. Griffith film and one of my favorite films, period.  It’s a silent feature from 1919, and it stars Lillian Gish as the lovesick country girl.  TRUE HEART SUSIE was, for me, the inspiration for several ideas about movies that have been deeply important to my work as a critic ever since.  Ironically, Griffith, in trying to perpetuate Victorian morals, ended up with revolutionary ideas.  For example, here, in the opening title cards of TRUE HEART SUSIE, Griffith’s statements about the purity of women end up sounding like feminism.

CLIP from TRUE HEART SUSIE

IGNATIY:
Griffith’s sympathy for the title character expresses itself with force in his use of framing and editing.  That’s Lillian Gish on the left.

CLIP from TRUE HEART SUSIE

IGNATIY: 
Now, I wouldn’t call TRUE HEART SUSIE an “old” film.  Griffith expresses himself so clearly that his intentions are never lost.  The film is raw and ageless.  Now Griffith may not have invented inter-cutting or the close-up, but what he did do was make movies seem like the most natural medium for expressing human emotions.