Based on a novel by Edith Wharton, The House of Mirth was a vehicle for Katherine Harris Barrymore, a lesser-known member of the celebrated acting family. Left penniless by her father's death, socialite Lily Bart (Barrymore) goes to live with a wealthy aunt, who insists that Lily take upon herself a rich husband. Our heroine balks at this, remaining faithful to her impecunious sweetheart Lawrence Seldon (Henry Kolker). Still, Lily is desirous of maintaining her lavish lifestyle, so she begins accepting the financial "favors" of several married millionaires. Though she is expected to return these favors in the traditional manner, Lily refuses to surrender her virtue -- until she discovers that her sainted sweetheart Seldon has been fooling around with another man's wife. House of Mirth was of interest for the fact that none of its characters was in any way admirable.
by Hal Erickson synopsis