Synopsis by Hal Erickson
The hoary old theatrical chestnut Way Down East was given a sumptuous screen treatment by D.W.Griffith in 1920. Six years before the Griffith film, however, an independent firm known as Photodrama came out with a three-reel distillation of the play, jettisoning virtually the entire plotline and retaining only the main characters. To let audiences know that they wouldn't be seeing the entire show, the producers retitled the property The Folks From Way Down East. Reel One introduces the characters of Ruth, Dick and Tom as they cavort at a Halloween dance. Part Two consists of a comic "pig auction" overseen by Ruth. And Part Three takes place at the wedding of Tom and Ruth, with Dick as Best Man. The melodramatic throughline of the original play, detailing the ruination and redemption of housekeeper Anna Moore, was not dwelt upon.