The Faded Lilies (1909)

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The Biograph Bulletin described D.W. Griffith's Faded Lilies as a "Contemporary Unrequited Love Tragedy." That's quite a lot to squeeze into the film's 481 feet (approximately six minutes' screen time), but Griffith managed to pull it off. A successful concert violinist entertains at the home of a wealthy society debutante. The girl rewards the violinist with a bouquet of flowers, whereupon he falls in love with her. Invited to another party, the musician proposes to the girl, only to be rudely informed that he is not of her lofty social class. Driven mad with disillusionment, the violinist ends up confined to his bed. According to the doctor, his only hope for recovery rests with his society sweetheart, who is urged to show up at the poor man's bedside and pretend that she has accepted his proposal. Joyfully, the violinist instantly recovers -- but when he finds out that her avowal of love is a sham, he suffers an immediate and fatal relapse. Both of Biograph's staff cameramen, Arthur Marvin and Billy Bitzer, worked on Faded Lilies.

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Keywords

debutante, disillusionment, doctor/nurse, love, proposal [romantic], tragic-love, violinist