Children Pay (1916)

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Millicent (Lillian Gish) and her sister Jean (Violet Wilkie) are pariahs in their small town because of their parents' pending divorce. Their only companion is their nurse Susan (Jennie Lee). Finally the day comes when the court has to decide custody, and Millicent is given over to their father, Theodore Ainsley (Ralph Lewis), while Jean is given to their mother, Elinor (Loyola O'Connor). Mr. Ainsley goes on to marry young social butterfly Editha (Alma Reubens). The sisters are closer to each other than they are to their parents, so after Millicent's coming out, she goes to Jean and they run off together, seeking refuge with their old nurse. An officer of the court finds them the next day and the whole family is brought before the judge once again. A young lawyer takes the girls' case and he and Millicent fall in love. The sisters' dilemma is solved when Millicent and the lawyer marry, and she takes custody of Jean. There are a few legal questions in this film -- for example, if Millicent is underage (which she has to be if she is part of a custody suit), then wouldn't she need her family's approval before she could marry? This film, directed by Lloyd Ingraham, shows several reasons why Lillian Gish did her best work with D.W. Griffith.