Image source: Internet Archive (
Download Movie [Video Format: MP4]
Movie Source: Internet Archive (

"Way Down East" (1920) director D. W. Griffith, cinematographer Billy Bitzer

"Way Down East" is a poignant drama directed by D. W. Griffith and starring Lillian Gish. This film illustrates the work of cinematographer Billy Bitzer, a star of Silent Hall of Fame.

The film tells the story about a society that ostracizes women for having a child out of wedlock.  Anna meets a man, who, in order to get her affections, sets up a fake marriage with her.  Then after she becomes pregnant he betrays her.  Anna's baby dies and she is banned from the boarding house. 

Anna finds work in the house of a certain squire, the richest farmer in the neighborhood.  The son of the family falls in love with her, but she rejects his advances knowing that her past will catch up with her sooner or later.

Then one day the squire finds out that Anna had a baby out of wedlock.  His prejudice is so strong that he drives her out of the house at night into the blizzard. 

Out in the open fields with freezing winds blowing Anna quickly becomes disoriented and exhausted.  She loses her coat and falls down on the frozen river bank.  Then the ice breaks and she is carried away downstream. 

The young man desperately looks for her in the dark.  When he reaches the river he sees her in the distance lying on a piece of ice that is carrying her downstream towards the waterfall and a certain death.

The film has an outstanding 8.1 rating in IMDB.

Directed by               D. W. Griffith
Produced by             D. W. Griffith
Scenario by               Anthony Paul Kelly         
Based on                   Way Down East by Lottie Blair Parker
Starring                     Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess
Cinematography       Billy Bitzer
Editing by                  James Smith and Rose Smith
Distributed by           United Artists
Release date               September 3, 1920
Running time             123 min
Country                      United States
Language                    Silent film, English intertitles

You can see a slideshow of stills from this film and other interesting stuff on our website

Silent Hall of Fame is the only place where we actively work to bring back from oblivion the names and legacy of formerly illustrious silent movie stars, which have made a major contribution to the industry and the world but do not have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

We also fight for your right, the right of the public, to see silent masterpieces that have been kept in hidden vaults for far too long. Our website streams for free one such masterpiece that has not been seen in 85 years and is not available anywhere else.

Please visit our website to watch quality silent films absolutely free and to support the legacy of silent movie stars with your tax deductible contribution.

Silent Hall of Fame has started an online campaign to begin raising funds for the nomination of our first star for the Hollywood Walk of Fame. All contributions are tax deductible. Here is the web page:
Please spread the word about the campaign and Silent Hall of Fame and help your favorite silent star receive belated recognition and glory.

Silent Hall of Fame, a nonprofit organization
Preserving the legacy of silent movie stars


More Public Domain Movies