True Heart Susie (1919) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
47 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
9/10
a lovely old fashioned film
fred3f10 January 2006
First, let's understand what kind of film this is. It is a movie about old fashioned values and the people who held them. You will not see much action, sex or blood in this film. It is silent, not of the best quality (it is old) and in black and white. However, if none of that bothers you particularly, you will find that it is a sincere film, exciting in its own way, and one that rings deep and true in a way that films seldom do.

The acting is particularly good. One reviewer here said to watch it for the stars, and that is certainly a good reason to watch it. Bobby Harron, does a wonderful job of playing a sincere and naive young man who is fooled by a week and superficial woman. He has an extremely sensitive face and when you look at him you seem to be able to see into his very soul.

Lillian Gish plays the shy, plain and simple girl who loves him. In her scenes with Harron, they had a chemistry which fills the screen. She starts out as plain girl, but about half way through the film she starts to look pretty. It is a gradual transformation and she pulls it off remarkably well, gradually accenting her better features and holding her body more gracefully. She also seems to grow as a person in the film. She starts out as an awkward child living in a fantasy world where she imagines that she is loved more than she actually is. As the film progresses, she learns to face reality, to learn how to look pretty and act gracefully without changing who she is. None of this is accomplished in any great dramatic way. It is accomplished the way these things are often done in real life, quietly, by small incidents which are important to the person but not that important to anyone else. But when these incidents occur, you see a slight physical change on the surface, but somehow she also shows you a dramatic change deep inside her whole being. How she accomplishes this is a mystery to me and one of the miracles of acting.

At one time Lillian remarked that "Virgins are the hardest roles to play. those dear little girls - to make them interesting takes great vitality, but a fallen woman or a vamp!-75 per cent of your work is already done." Lilian played all three, virgins, vamps and fallen women - and played them well. Here she plays perhaps her most difficult virgin. A girl who has nothing extraordinary to distinguish her except her quiet love for Robert. Well, remarkably enough, she makes the role interesting and sympathetic. I don't know an actress today who could do it.

As good a Lilian is, she nearly has the film stolen from her by Clarine Seymour who plays the the "vamp" in this film. Well, perhaps 75% of her work is already done, but she supplies the other 25% with great enthusiasm. She never makes the mistake of making her character hateful. That would make the character too one dimensional. She shows us, instead, a charming woman who is too week to resist temptation and too cowardly to tell the truth. Thus, she ruins her own life and nearly all the lives around her. You hate her for her weakness but you love her for her charm and beauty. She walks that tightrope between charm and evil perfectly.

Aside from the acting there are other things to like about this forgotten gem. The camera work by Bitzer is almost beyond belief, when you consider when it was done. He could create moods with the camera that make you think he was inside the actors thoughts.

Let us also remember the director. Griffith was a director that worked in concepts. In a film like this, where he was using his best actors and crew, he would not tell them how to play it. He would give them the concept he wanted and let them create it. If he didn't like what they did, he would go over it again and they would try again. By doing this he filled the set with the atmosphere of the film and everyone was attune to it. This shows in the film and the way the tension builds between characters as their lives play out. A palpable universe is created here.

If what Lillian said about virgins is true, the same can be said about a film that tries to portray simple, honest values. The film succeeds in doing this very well. If you enjoy this kind of film then I would seek this one out, it is really remarkable.

When I first wrote this comment, there were no commercially available copies of this film on DVD. Since then it has been issued in an excellent version. Highly recommended for film buffs and people who appreciate real things.
13 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Minor Griffith?
boblipton16 January 2003
True, there are no big set pieces. We don't see Richard Barthelmess leaping from ice floe to ice floe, we don't see the Little Colonel ramming a Confederate battle flag down a cannon's mouth. What we see are faces: a small boy watching a church elder eat ice cream; Robert Harron, exultant at getting a scholarship; and, of course, Lilian Gish. She walks funny. Her outfits are ridiculous and True Heart Susie is, let's face it, not very bright, but she feels deeply and we feel with her.

What more, really, can you ask for in a movie? You get beautifully composed pictures, a fluid story, fine acting.... two years later Henry King would tread the same ground with TOL'ABLE David and produce a masterpiece that is not as funny and warm as this.

Minor Griffith? If so, there are few major directors besides Griffith.
18 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Timeless masterpiece
Kalaman7 June 2002
"True Heart Susie" is one of my top five or four favorite silent films -a timeless masterpiece of simple beauty and innocence. Set in small rural town in America, it is about a simple and devoted young woman "True Heart Susie" (Lillian Gish, in what is perhaps her finest performance) who makes painful sacrifices to promote her next door neighbor and ignorant love William Jenkins (Robert Harron) to college. This is D.W. Griffith at his peak. There isn't a scene in the this marvellously lyrical film that never attains emotional beauty and resonance. It may not have the technical invention and epic sprawl of "Birth of a Nation" or "Intolerance" or "Way Down East" but it remains one of the most honest and beautiful films I have ever seen.

A work of art you don't want to miss.
18 out of 20 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Watch it for the Stars
overseer-326 December 2003
A rare chance to see Robert "Bobby" Harron perform on film. Most of his silent films have been lost. He died tragically, at the height of his popularity, at only 27 years of age. He was a handsome young fellow who definitely makes an impression in this film. Lillian Gish's character is almost too long-suffering to be believed, but somehow she makes it work through little flashes of humor and tenderness. My favorite scene: she takes the minister's wife into bed with her to save her from being locked out of her home on a frigid, cold, rainy night. As the wife sleeps, Lillian (in love with the husband herself), clenches her hand into a fist, and for a moment considers pummeling her rival, but instead the pure love of her heart wins out, and she reaches out for the sleeping wife and hugs her close, caressing her.

Watch "True Heart Susie" to see its stars shine. The story is simple, but it will capture your attention immediately and give you a chance to see yet another classy silent film with heart.
21 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
The Height of Sentimentality
wes-connors15 December 2007
Lillian Gish (as True Heart Susie) is an ordinary country girl; she is in love with typical "boy-next-door" Robert Harron (as William Roberts). The film begins with a series of seemingly silly, sentimental, and hopelessly old-fashioned observations about the relationships between men and women like "True Heart Susie" and "William Roberts". Director D.W. Griffith astutely notes, "Of course they don't know what poor simple idiots they are -- and, we, who have never been so foolish, an hardly hope to understand…"

You can tell, early on, that minister-to-be Harron is not really interested, romantically, in Gish. Harron prefers the "kind" of woman later idealized by Clarine Seymour (as Bettina). Ms. Seymour leads a fine supporting cast, as the painted and partying "other woman". Gish tries "power and stockings", but it is not in her character. When she accidentally chances upon Harron and Seymour kissing, Gish realizes circumstances are beyond her control, and Harron is lost to her -- this is followed by an incredible close-up of Gish, which defies description.

With "True Heart Susie", director Griffith and company achieve "non-epic" perfection. In its own way, the film is as "epic" as the director's "Intolerance" (1916). Ms. Gish and Mr. Harron are superb, as usual; though they are young adults, they are thoroughly convincing as opening-scene schoolchildren. The performances are almost outerworldly; especially, after Harron expresses discontent, and Gish reacts. Gish's reactions are particularly amazing; in fact, this may be her most supreme silent-era achievement, besting her own performance in the recently released "Broken Blossoms" (1919). If "Best Actress" awards were given out in 1919, Lillian Gish's "True Heart Susie" might have won over her own lead performance in "Broken Blossoms".

Truly classic.

********** True Heart Susie (6/1/19) D.W. Griffith ~ Lillian Gish, Robert Harron, Clarine Seymour, Loyola O'Connor
8 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Just Plain Susie versus The Paint and Powder Brigade
movingpicturegal21 September 2007
Charming and sentimental soap opera introduced as "The Story of a Plain Girl". Well, Susie (the so-called "plain girl", played by Lillian Gish) and William (Robert Harron) are two country teens who seem to be best pals having a small little romance as she walks home from school with him and he carves their initials on a tree - seems sweet, right? But then again, she pretty much trails behind him as they walk (like his shadow) and he pretty much pulls away as they start to kiss (bashful or just not interested - it's hard to tell). He dreams of going to college, she secretly sells her cow and other goods (after all, she "must" marry a smart man) and sends him the money under the guise that it is from a "philanthropist" they previously met in town. He comes back grown-up, with mustache - she secretly writes of plans to marry him in her diary and keeps it a secret about who his real benefactor was. But - enter one flirty Bettina: she believes in paint, powder, tight skirts, and silk stockings. Young William, now ready for marriage, unbelievably asks surprised Bettina to become his wife. Oh dear, poor Susie. But it doesn't exactly work out the way he hopes!

This is a really sweet and entertaining film - I like it a bunch. Lillian Gish is quite a bit too pretty to really seem realistic as "plain", but they manage to braid and slick down her hair in the earlier scenes, and with her shuffling along and the like, it almost works - and she's great in the part, of course. The character of Bettina is not really in the vein of "evil vamp" or anything like that - she's really just an immature young girl who likes to party and flirt and just isn't ready to settle down with a house and husband yet. Clarine Seymour, who plays Bettina, is really excellent in this film - she completely brings her character to life and even manages to make what appears to be a man-stealing home-wrecker into a sympathetic character. It is hard to forget while watching this film, the early deaths of two of the stars here, Harron and Seymour, in only a year's time. The art direction and camera-work nicely captures the rural setting and youthful faces of the stars. The Kino DVD of this film features a clear, tinted print that looks great - the music is a nicely done score by the Mont Alto orchestra featuring contemporary tunes, which completely suits this film. An emotional, absorbing, and at all times enjoyable silent film.
8 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Lillian Gish and Robert Harron
drednm16 April 2005
Both major stars in 1919, this bucolic tale by D.W. Griffith was old-fashioned even when it was made, but its simple charms and top stars make it worth a look. The girl loves the boy, helps him thru college without his knowledge, but he marries another. But because she has a true heart, she prevails. Gish has a few nice scenes, and Harron is good as the confused boy. Clarine Seymour is good as the bad girl (powder and paint!). Not much action but the scenes carry you along and Gish is watchable in anything. Harron was exceptional in Intolerance a few years earlier, and died soon after this film (gun shot wounds)as did Clarine Seymour--both in 1920!. Kate Bruce, Loyola O'Connor, and Carold Dempster co-star.
11 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Lillian Gish's performance was fabulous
cocomariev9 May 2011
"True Heart Susie" was one of my favorite silent films that I watched during my class. This cute love story follows the lives of William and Susie. By the end of the film I found myself loving Lillian Gish's character (Susie). She sacrifices a lot in order to win William's heart over. I thought that Lillian Gish did a fabulous job throughout the entire movie. In the beginning of the film, Susie (Lillian Gish) tried to kiss William (Robert Harron) in a number of scenes and both characters did a wonderful job at creating awkward moments. I thought they did a fabulous job at making the audience feel uncomfortable as we watched Susie repeatedly getting denied by William. Griffith did a wonderful job at capturing Susie's emotion throughout the movie. The close up shots that were taken really enhanced emotion throughout the film and I found myself feeling genuinely sorry for her. During the movie, we hope and expect that Susie and William end up together, but when William meets Betty our prediction of the movie changes. The movie ends rather dramatically and unexpectedly which I favored because we always assume that endings are happy. This was the only silent film that I have watched where I felt connected to one of the characters. Lillian Gish did such a good job at grabbing the audiences attention through her facial expressions that I found myself hating Betty and feeling extremely sad when her and William got married. I don't think Griffith could have chosen a better actress to play Susie. I would definitely recommend watching this movie just to see Gish's performance. Griffith did a fabulous job at making this a sweet yet unexpected love story that captured my attention fabulously. If you're going to watch a silent film, I would definitely say that this is the one to watch!
5 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Sentimental Impressions
Cineanalyst27 November 2009
This is a gem among the smaller productions from D.W. Griffith's oeuvre. It's similar to "A Romance of Happy Valley", also a coming-of-age romance set in the countryside, which Griffith made with the same costars and released earlier in 1919. Griffith often turned to rural romance and such sentimental melodramas for his films. In this one, Lillian Gish is again self-sacrificing, pitiful and supposedly plain in appearance, while Robert Harron goes to the city to make good--this time to college to become his hometown's preacher. Gish and Harron had these roles down pat, and their translations from awkward teenagers to adulthood is especially impressive here, accomplished with costume changes and a mustache for Harron, but mostly just by their convincing performances. The film doesn't specifically address how much time the narrative covers, but it seems to be years, so there is considerable character development. In addition to Gish and Harron, Clarine Seymour is good in the part of a flapper, who steals Harron away from Gish.

Thanks to the quality Image Entertainment / Film Preservation Associates release, G.W. Bitzer's lovely photography is now more apparent. One slight criticism here that I have is the odd use of soft focus in a few places, such as in a couple long shots and for one close-up of Harron, which blur his image; otherwise, it's a fine technique, which Bitzer and camera operator Karl Brown had learned from Hendrik Sartov in making "Broken Blossoms", another Griffith-Gish film made and released earlier in 1919 (clearly, 1919 was a great year for this team artistically). Similarly, the film's pace and editing are commendable, including interloping the various paths of the characters and one particularly good match cut where Gish walks from her field cut to her walking in her house. Yet, some of the editing appears jumpy in places, although some of that could be due to missing frames, and there's a brief continuity error during the shot where Seymour is trying to get inside her house during a rainstorm--the door is locked, yet we briefly see her push the door open. Such slight sloppiness in film-making doesn't distract much, though. Title cards are a bit too much here, in frequency and storytelling (e.g. why call the characters idiots?), something that's a problem in other Griffith films, too. To finish my listing on the technical aspects of "True Heart Susie", it also features a well-constructed rainstorm, which seems to be an early and good example of one created artificially, with heavy rain, lightning effects and good continuity.

"True Heart Susie" is one of Griffith's better films; it treads familiar territory, but is better constructed and developed narratively and technically. Its real genius, however, is the acting, which makes this one especially sentimentally affecting. Gish is exceptionally brilliant; it seems that any film she's in will be worth watching at least just for her part.
3 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
"The Little Milliner from Chicago" Steals the Movie!!!
kidboots4 October 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This movie was part of a group of Griffith's rural romances (also "A Romance of Happy Valley", "The Great Love"). At this time in his career (after "Intolerance") Griffith was trying to recoup financially, his debt and bank loan entrapment had already begun so he begun filming a series of less ambitious but lyrical little films about his boyhood in Kentucky. Ever the showman he tried to add stature to these smaller films with wordy pretentious titles. "True Heart Susie" opens with a title that proclaims every incident in it is taken from life - Charles Dickens would be surprised as "True Heart Susie" is a mixture of "Great Expectations" and "David Copperfield" - and goes on to dedicate itself to "All the Women of the World who wait for the Great Love that Never Comes"!!

Susie (Gish) has an unrequited love for William (Harron) who only half heartedly returns her friendship. She is secretly scrimping and saving to put him through college but he mistakenly thinks his benefactor is a stranger who once passed through their village and promised to help. Susie even sells her beloved cow, Daisy, to start William on his way.

Insufferable William comes home from college sporting a moustache and none the wiser about who his benefactor was. He sternly tells Susie "men flirt with painted girls but always marry plain ones" - if only he practiced what he preached. Of course he is fair game for Bettina, the little milliner from Chicago, who believes thoroughly in "paint, powder and tight skirts". She was played by bewitching Clarine Seymour and steals the movie, in my opinion. Clarine gave the film some much needed vivacity. She wasn't a typical Griffith idealization of southern womanhood, being very Clara Bow like, and who knows what type of career she would have had if she had lived. Even at this stage Griffith was heavily promoting his young protégé Carol Dempster as a logical successor to Lillian Gish, even though she couldn't act her way out of a paper bag and would almost destroy his reputation with her inept and wooden performances. In this movie she has a definite extra part as Bettina's fun loving friend.

How does William come to have this fascination over women - perhaps he is the only marriageable man in town!! It is clear he is putty in Bettina's hands and to her he is only a "punk minister" but as her money is gone she must marry someone. Marriage isn't the bliss that William imagined it to be. Bettina is a shrew who flies into rages and break plates (slipshod continuity, she picks up a plain plate but the plate that is broken on the floor is a Willow pattern) - a real contrast when they have Sunday dinner at Susie's and William has his first decent meal since before his marriage. Bettina certainly finds married life a drag and when she sneaks out to a party and is caught in the rain, she loses her keys and is forced to seek shelter at Susie's.

I agree the strength of the film is in it's performers, Lillian Gish's Susie seems so innocent and trusting, that William's slighting of her gains him little audience sympathy. Robert Harron's metamorphosis when he returns from college shows what a mature and subtle actor he could be. Gone is the gawkiness and it is a tribute to his acting that in my opinion when he marries Bettina, he starts to engage audience sympathy. The lovely lyricalness continues almost to the end when a closing title hopes they will be happy and asks the audience to imagine Susie and William looking back to their earlier innocent years.
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Up until the very contrived ending, I had really enjoyed this film.
MartinHafer24 May 2010
It's rare that the ending of a film can undo so much of the rest of the movie, but "True Heart Susie" by D.W. Griffith is one of those films. It's really a shame, as the movie had been quite good up until that point and had a lot to recommend it.

The film begins with Lillian Gish wanting to help her sweetheart (Robert Harron) get the money for college. When a rich guy meets Harron and promises to one day help him (but doesn't), Gish decides she'll be his benefactor--secretly giving him money he assumes is from this rich man. Using the money Gish obtained by selling her farm animals, Harron is able to work on campus and earn enough to get his education. When he returns, he's now an ordained minister and appears ready to settle down in his home town. However, he still doesn't know that Gish helped him. She assumes they'll one day marry, but he never has popped the question.

When a flirty lady bent on marriage arrives in town, Gish's subtle and lady-like ways are no match. Even though it's obvious to the viewers that this new lady is a tramp (as you see her doing lots of evil things behind Harron's back), the guy never realizes his new girlfriend is just plain bad. Now you'd think that Gish would lay it on the line and just tell him that she paid for his education as well as her love for him, but she doesn't. Perhaps she only wants him if he wants her--perhaps this is just a plot device! Either way, Gish is simply beautiful and sweet in the film and it's hard to imagine Harron marrying the tramp...but he does.

The marriage soon turns out to be a huge mistake, as the new wife really could care less about being married or any aspect of domesticity. Harron, though, is easily manipulated and time after time, his cheating, no-good, scumtastic wife breaks her marriage vows--partying with old friends, kissing other men and just being a skank.

Now up until this part, I'd liked the film. It had nice production values and very nice acting. I thought Griffith had done himself proud. Then, however, bad writing really sunk the film. First, when Gish sees that the new wife is a cheat, she does NOT tell Harron. This is odd, but perhaps understandable. However, when the cheating wife is caught out in the rain (as she'd sneaked out to go partying), Gish actually agrees to help the wife hide her actions. Why?! This made no sense. Second, and this was dumb, Gish didn't tell Harron a thing. Third, and this was just awful, the cheating wife gets sick and dies as a result of her being out in the rain!! This is the sort of death that can only happen in movies and just seemed to come from no where. Fourth, after the awful wife dies, Gish STILL doesn't say anything to Harron!!! However, you know that somehow it will all work out--and the entire last 10 minutes of the film is a mess--and it's a shame, as the rest of it was lovely.
2 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Gish at Her Best
Michael_Elliott26 February 2008
True Heart Susie (1919)

*** (out of 4)

D.W. Griffith's classic that asks if a man would take a plain, sweet girl over a pretty, make up wearing bad girl. In the film, Susie (Lillian Gish) and William (Robert Harron) are the best of friends but both have other feelings but he doesn't quite get it. William is too poor to go to college so Susie, keeping it a secret from him, sells her beloved cow Daisy so that he can go. When William returns Susie hopes that he will marry her but a city girl (Clarine Seymour) moves in on him. Will William see his faults and learn who sent him to college before it's too late? Griffith owed a lot of people money so he rushed this film into production so he could get it into theaters as quick as he could. The final results are a sweet and lighthearted film but certainly not one of the director's classics. The best thing to the film are the performances by the three leads with Gish stealing the show with her terrific facial gestures, which can display any sort of emotion. Seymour is also very good in her role and Griffith's lover, Carol Dempster, is also on hand. The film is overflowing with Griffith's Southern values of working women and also his hatred of high class women, which is certainly a fault in the film as the city girl is shown pretty one dimensional. With the drama also comes some nice, quiet moments like the one where Susie and William want to kiss but he's too scared to go ahead with it.
2 out of 4 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Charming
iquine1 November 2017
Warning: Spoilers
(Flash Review)

Love in the 19-teens was a different world. Normal lil' Susie has a glimmer in her eye for her neighbor William. They go out for soda and ice cream a few times and she is thinking this is my future husband. William is boneheaded with the ladies. He is afraid to move in for the kiss and is easily wooed away from Susie by other ladies while out with Susie. Susie does a lot of nice things for William, without him knowing, thus he never fully understands her true feelings. Will William get his act together or will he make a move for a girl of 'paint and powder' as they describe a non-genuine lady in that era? Cute little romantic tale from 1919. Emotions told well without words.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
A Beautiful Movie!
marlene_rantz31 October 2017
Warning: Spoilers
What a beautiful movie, and as the familiar expression goes, they don't make them like this, anymore! Lillian Gish is True Heart Susie, a plain young woman devotedly in love with her neighbor, portrayed by Robert Harron, who, in turn, is attracted to a more flashier type of woman, portrayed by Clarine Seymour. He is totally unaware of True Heart Susie's love, devotion, and sacrifice for him, as she deprives herself to help him get ahead in his profession. All ends well, and true love wins out in the end! As always, Lillian Gish was excellent. She may have been plain, but her heartfelt expressions made her a beautiful woman, in my opinion. Robert Harron and Clarine Seymour were both excellent, and it is so sad to note that both of them died very young soon after this movie. The direction by D.W. Griffith was excellent.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Plain and Simple vs Paint and Powder
CJBx79 September 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Lillian Gish stars as the title character in TRUE HEART SUSIE (1919), a bucolic romance directed by DW Griffith. Susie loves William (Robert Harron), but he doesn't fully commit himself to her. Susie makes sacrifices so that William can go to college and become successful. He comes back to town as a minister, and Susie expects that they will marry, but Bettina, a vibrant and modern city girl (Clarine Seymour) sets her sights on the hapless William.

TRUE HEART SUSIE is a quite charming film, a portrait of a different era with different values. Susie typifies domesticity, constancy and self- sacrifice, simple country values. Bettina and her friends, the "paint and powder brigade", represent the city life – fast-paced and artificial, enticing men with "suggestive clothing" and heavy use of makeup to emphasize the physical and superficial. Susie becomes insecure because of her appearance and determines to entice William with the same "paint and powder" and flashy dress as Bettina, and her aunt says that she looks like a "Jezebel"! So Susie changes her clothes and goes back to her normal simple look. It's pretty obvious which side will win out in the end, but William and Bettina's marriage proves an unexpected roadblock for Susie. Griffith could lay it on thick with his title cards in many films, driving home the moral of the story with sledgehammer force, but in this film he is comparatively restrained.

Lillian Gish again shows her acting prowess as Susie, a simple girl who shows herself to be very resourceful and self-sacrificing. Gish was one of the great screen beauties of her time, but she is quite convincing as the plain heroine. Gish is superbly expressive, nuanced and naturalistic, the only off moment being a bit of jumpiness that Griffith liked to induce in his leading ladies for some very strange reason. Robert Harron is also quite good as William, who is oblivious at first to Susie's affections, but then comes to realize his mistakes. Clarine Seymour is charismatic as the scheming Bettina, full of energy and mischief. Future Griffith leading lady Carol Dempster is effective in a small but important role as Bettina's best friend.

Longtime Griffith cinematographer Billy Bitzer again shows his mastery of the camera. The film has a warm, tranquil feel throughout, taking advantage of the beautiful country scenery and using different tints for day, night, and indoor and outdoor scenes.

Overall, TRUE HEART SUSIE is a charming film, a "small" film in Griffith's repertoire, but in its modest way, one of his most artistically successful. It features fine acting, a moving story, and it's lovely to look at. SCORE: 9/10
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Lovely and Simple
emyoswald10 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
The protagonist in True Heart Suzie is regularly credited with pioneering subtle acting in front of the camera, as opposed to sweeping, dramatic acting of theater players attempting to transition to the new medium. In some parts of the film, it's a little difficult to believe, given today's films with high definition technology, more sophistication, and able to catch every nuance in an actor's face. Compared to earlier films, however, miss Suzie is quite the refined actress.

The story centers on True Heart Suzie, who sells her cow in the name of love to send her neighbor boy, William, to college. When he eventually returns, Suzie is heartbroken to find that he has (and marries) a modern young lady named Bettina. Through Bettina's propensity for partying and enjoying pursuits away from her more mild-mannered husband, she eventually becomes ill and dies. Susie and William end up getting married afterwards, and it's happily ever after for True Heart Suzie, proving that true love can eventually conquer anything, even another marriage.

The film is a simple country love story, and it reminded me a little bit of the children's tale of the city and the country mouse. When William goes off to college, he's blinded somewhat by the city and returns with a city girl. Eventually, through pain and suffering, he finds what's been waiting in the country for him all along, and he finds a different kind of happiness with the girl who's loved him all her life.

True Heart Susie is a little bit boring, a little bit cute, and a little bit heartbreaking (especially when Susie discovers William's engagement). A lovely film to watch and a nice break from nonstop action flicks of today.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
When being good goes bad
reddman99879 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This is a classic case of allowing society and traditionalism hold you back from what you really desire. There was once a time in society where the belief was that things had to be done strictly by the book and if you did them any other way then you were wrong. This belief system was not only for one part of life, but for all. There was a strict way for church's to operate, people to dress, families to conduct business, and also for people to interact with each other and if you did any of these differently than the norm then you were out of order. This was not the time to be different in society; it was a time to conform to traditionalism. Susie was as true to the traditional ways as "the needle to the pole." Susie allows her traditional ways to keep her from getting the man that she longed for from childhood. She was never willing to tell him what she truly wanted to neither through actions nor words while other girls did. Susie sat on the sideline and watched as other women robbed her of the stock she had invested so much in. Susie was so caught in tradition and being nice that it was too a fault. In the end it hurt her more than it helped. One thing I noticed was that Susie was more loyal to her mother than she was to her own desires and that loyalty cost her many years of happiness. Susie eventually married the man of her dreams, but it was well into her later years of life and she could never be as happy as she could have been had she gone with her gut feeling and told the young man how she felt. Susie surely had a true heart.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
True Heart Susie
jrmontalvo38 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
D.W. Griffith was a Silent films era genius, this man created masterpieces. In this film, it is a love story between a little boy and little girl, who grow up together, this love story has a little of a spin to it. Most love stories it takes a little for them to both realize they love each other and for them to end up together. Well in True Heart Susie, Susie is in love with William who has no clue that she has those feelings for him, although she makes it as obvious as possible for him to actually understand her feelings he still does not understand. Well William tries going to college, but doesn't have the funding to be able to get into college, Susie finds out this information and sales her beloved cow that was passed to her from her mother as she died, this cow had great meaning to Susie but she sold it to get money for William to be able to go to college. William gets into college and moves away, when he returns from college he has finally been educated, but when William returns from his college life he comes back with a new women he is married to named Betty Hopkins who is only marrying him for his money and has affairs with him behind his back. Susie catches Betty, but loves William so much she can't tell him and therefore keeps her mouth shut, until one night Betty lies to William and leaves the house to go party. She didn't realize she lost her house key and was locked out in the rain and nasty weather for hours until she went to Susie's later on she would catch pneumonia. After Betty passes away Susie's aunt finally explains everything to William who then marries Susie. The way this movie catches you isn't only through the love story drams, but how you can follow Susie's emotions like you can almost feel what she is feeling, that is what makes True Heart Susie Significant silent film.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
Masterpiece
marys-684-6342268 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
True Heart Susie is the best silent film I have ever seen. The story was a little far-fetched, but it was a cute romantic drama. The almost kissing scenes in the beginning of the film had everyone at the edge on had all the students on the edge of their seats. People shouted out "kiss her already." The awkwardness of the main characters was portrayed perfectly throughout the movie. The kissing scenes by the fence as he is about to leave for college and the scene by the tree at the beginning of the film are as awkward as the scene at the end when they finally kiss. The awkward kiss is a reference to their innocence and childhood crush on one another.

The whole movie was an absolute master piece. The innocence portrayed by Lillian Gish was extraordinary. The close ups were amazing. Although it was a silent film, I could feel every emotion she felt by the small gestures in her face. I wanted cry when William proposed to Betty and punch her she was in Susie's house after the rain storm. The emotions were more believable than the plot itself due to the amazing acting. The few colors of the film added to the emotions of Susie. The yellow showed her jealousy of Betty. The blue during the rain storm represented her longing for William and the betrayal of the partying Betty.

The plot of the film was adorable from beginning to end. I truly believe that both of the main actors were from the country. The values in the film were portrayed as old fashioned values. William went to college and studied religion and became the preacher of his home town. The women stayed at home and kept care of the house. Susie's best friend was a cow. The entire town was so quaint and added to the aesthetics of the film.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Cute romance
xtina097 May 2011
True Heart Susie is an absolutely adorable film! This 1919 film is a cute love story that follows the lives of Susie and William. Lillian Gish does a great job playing the sweet and innocent character of Susie who is secretly in love with Robert Harron's character William Jenkins. This film starts when the two are still in school and in their adolescent years and follows their story into adulthood. Susie proves to be anything other than just the "plain" girl when she goes above and beyond to make William, her true love, reach his happiness. This movie is very entertaining, combining romance and drama so that the audience is left in suspense and eager to find out if and when Susie and William will somehow end up together in the end. From the eyes of someone who has grown up with the latest technology and special effect films, True Heart Susie is a film that was able to capture my attention and hold onto it until the very end of this 87 minute long film. Despite it being a silent film, the cast of True Heart Susie was able to convey true emotions through their actions and facial expressions so that the audience can easily understand and interpret what the characters are thinking and filming. True Heart Susie is not a color film, however, because of tinting is not black and white. Tinted print is used to show the time, place, and mood in this film. Orange tint is used whenever the setting is indoors or to show that it is daytime. Blue tint is used to express that it is nighttime. The art direction and editing are great. The famous D.W. Griffith shows just how talented he is with the camera and his art direction in True Heart Susie.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Sweet Heart Susie
wadih_ws30 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
D.W. Griffith's True Heart Susie was a masterpiece in the silent era; it's a love story between a boy and a girl who grow up together. Like most cases in life a girl loves a boy, but that boy doesn't know or pay attention to it. This film is no different from that. As well as another girl who tries to steal the guy away, sounds pretty close to our life today. But one difference, the girl wont say anything about how she feels about him and the other girl succeeds for the most part on stealing him from her. But from the start of this film she believes in him such as how most women today believe in their husband or boyfriend, but True Heart Susie shows why she has True Heart in her name when she sacrifices much of her own happiness to help him succeed in what he wants. This film was filmed with some scenes that are more normal back then, but are outrageously funny now a day. But this film was easy to keep track of and is a great film and I enjoyed it fully. I even wondered while watching this, if they could possibly remake this film with sound and more modern. This film has a lot of potential of being great, but there are some minor adjustments it needs, but I'm sure because the lack of technology back then that's what caused it. This film has a lot of similarities to the world we live in today other than a few things. Such as a girl falling for a boy who didn't now about how she felt and ends up falling for another. But D.W. Griffith had some key components in this film that would make it successful, he knew what the audiences' wanted and he gave it to them.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Honest and Poignant
ErinKan21429 April 2011
D.W Griffith is considered the first director to implement narrative techniques to his filmmaking and "True Heart Susie" is a great example of this. While I wasn't immediately impressed, I found that as the movie progressed I connected with the characters more and more. Susie is a plain girl with completely honorable intentions who falls in love with William. Lillian Gish does remarkable job acting "for film." Her facial expressions are not too over- produced but it is easy to read her thoughts from a simple arch of her eyebrow. Griffith is definitely making a social statement on old-fashioned values. Susie is a pure character and the film really remains honest throughout. For a silent film, it really kept my attention. The thing I really loved was the character Clarine Seymour played because I think her acting; along with Lilian Gish's was a real testament to the time. Seymour's character is not meant to be hated and she does a lovely job pulling off the "vampy" personality without losing the viewer completely. Also, since I was watching this for a film history class, it was a nice departure to see more subtle acting. This is not similar to "Birth of a Nation" at all so if you are looking for a more epic film by Griffith, this is not it. "True Heart Susie" is an intimate, honest journey of a young girl whose values are tested in serious ways. No matter what statement D.W Griffith was trying to make with this film, he made it enjoyable to watch.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
True Heart Susie Summary and Opinion
eksrox-40-90228628 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
True Heart Susie is one of the most beautifully crafted early silent films. It does not put so much emphasis on the story, but rather the formation of the characters. The story begins with Susie being obviously infatuated with a young man named William Jenkins, but he is clueless to her deep feelings. She keeps her love for him discreet while she pays for his college tuition. He leaves town leaving Susie upset. When he returns, William marries another woman named Betty Hopkins. Betty is high maintenance and mean, and after awhile becomes very difficult for William to live with. William is a very clueless guy and is portrayed as an innocent boy whose intentions are not to hurt anybody. But Susie becomes totally heartbroken. The film focuses on Susie's up-close facial expressions. This was the first time in film that the up close shots were really utilized for film. Small non-verbals were a key to telling not just the story, but rather the emotion of Susie's one-sided romance. An example of this is when Susie kicks up her foot out of disappointment when she is walking with William. Also, when she is overhearing people talk and she is outside the door, the camera zooms in on her face, and she gives a series of very descriptive quick facial movements that indicate surprise, distress, and disappointment. After many days of being love sick and agonizing over her lost love, Susie's aunt can no longer take her pain and decided to help Susie. She tells William how Susie paid for his education and how she has loved him for a long time. William becomes so overwhelmed with emotion; he then takes her in his arms and promises her forever.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Awesome Silent Movie!!
cking-37-37204126 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
***Spoiler alert*** D.W. Griffith's, True Heart Suzie is one of the best silent movies I have seen. I highly recommend this to anyone who loves a comedic love story. I was amazed by how much I and the audience became involved with this simple but hilarious silent movie. The plot is centered on a girl and boy who are childhood friends but the girl has a crush on the boy and falls deeply in love with him without the boy ever noticing. The boy goes to college and surprises the girl in many ways. Some of the surprises actually break her heart, but she amazingly continues to keep her love for her childhood friend. I found the acting superb, especially Lillian Gish, the girl in love with her childhood friend. Her face was similar to looking at a porcelain doll through the entire movie and although the film was completely silent, I could still form a tear as I watched her heart break. I found this film very translucent in the fact that it can easily relate to many people at one point in their life. I thought the close up of Lillian Gish was a phenomenal move by D. W. Griffith. I also felt that her acting was the best throughout the movie. The film spotlighted simplicity by the acting and by the props used. It was very easy to follow unlike some other silent movies of this time and had a great message of never give up on love. I was very happy with the ending of this film; it was almost like watching a fairytale such as 'Cinderella' but in the early 1900s. This movie had more comedy than heartfelt love story action, which I think many guys would prefer. Overall, this movie is a great piece of work, by Griffith, and recommended for any audience.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
A fantastic silent film
Emilyjkwin17 April 2011
Warning: Spoilers
D.W. Griffith's True Heart Susie is quite an enjoyable film in the realm of classic silent movies. While Griffith's The Birth of A Nation, or Intolerance are more well known, True Heart Susie is definitely much easier to follow and much less controversial than his other films. The alternate name "The story of a plain girl" is an apt description. While many would argue that there are few "plain" facets of Lilian Gish's image, her acting is revolutionary in its subtle and muted nature. Prior to Gish, most actors and actresses acted on a much more grand scale in terms of expressions, thus the stereotype of dramatic faces and actions in silent film, as if every moment was pivotal and life changing. If given a chance, this is a very stomach-able silent film, and will be endearing if you are a willing audience. The story is one of unrequited love, as Susie is passed over by the object of her affections for a more outgoing girl. Susie is very much the good girl character, even taking in the untrue woman who is married to the man she loves, and caring for her when she is sick, although bitterly. The plot gently reminds me of Gone With the Wind, but only very gently. Susie is not as successfully independent as Scarlett O'Hara, but this film is from a different time. Susie in today's terms would perhaps be the anti-feminist, as a hopeless romantic who's motivations are mainly rooted in the happiness of a man, however in the context of the very early 1900's Susie is as much of an independent woman as Scarlett would have been. Susie can fend for herself, and although the world in the movie see's her as plain, the audience can see that she is full of natural beauty.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews


Recently Viewed