In the Border States (1910)    1 Stars
In the Border States (1910)
In the Border States (1910)


Director: D. W. Griffith

Cast: Charles West, Charles Arling, Owen Moore

Synopsis: During the Civil War, a father living in a border state leaves to join the Union Army.






Filmed in the year that America commemorated the 50th anniversary of the start of its Civil War, D. W. Griffith’s In the Border States seeks to humanise the war by focusing on the family of a Union soldier whose youngest daughter inadvertently saves her father’s life by offering the hand of kindness to a Confederate soldier.   It’s a play on the old Aesop’s Fable about the Lion and the Mouse that we all learnt in school and it’s pulled off with no little skill considering the year in which it was made.   But then, it was directed by a man who had established himself as the world’s foremost director after only a couple of years in the chair.   Griffith illustrates his growing confidence behind the camera with effective early compositions that direct the audience’s eye towards the slight figure of Gladys Egan, a prolific young actress whose film career would be over by the age of 14, as the young daughter.   She is the focal point of the story, and Egan delivers a nicely nuanced performance, never once succumbing to the temptation to convey emotions with exaggerated gestures.   In the Border States is an eventful movie, which makes good use of the New Jersey locations standing in for the unnamed border state in which the action takes place; Its’ storyline might stretch a modern audience’s credulity, but then it wasn’t made for us, was it?

(Reviewed 27th December 2014)

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