The Two Paths (1911)

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D.W. Griffith's The Two Paths is frequently written off as a "potboiler," but, in 1911 at least, any one of Griffith's potboilers was worth three of anyone else's films. This cautionary drama charts the lives of two sisters, one frivolous, the other sensible. The frivolous one heads off to the Big City, where she becomes the mistress of a callous millionaire; the sensible one marries for love, settling down happily as the wife of a hard-working carpenter. Guess which one of these romances ends in tragedy? In his book on Griffith's Biograph films, Robert Henderson has noted that The Two Paths contains many of the director's trademarks-to-me, including one scene illuminated solely by the light of a fireplace.