Each Monday, I continue to share Western movie reviews. For more of my movie reviews, click here to follow me on Letterboxd.
Week 195: Scarlet Days (1919)
Unfortunately, D.W. Griffith’s only feature length Western is a misfire. How underwhelming it must have been to find this “lost film” in the 60s and discover that it wasn’t a towering (or even modest) achievement.
Made a few years after Griffith’s masterworks, THE BIRTH OF A NATION and INTOLERANCE, SCARLET DAYS feels like it was actually produced years before those. Primitive in its storytelling and visual execution, the film may reflect a tired, indifferent Griffith. It has few moments of inspiration and mostly plods along with an over-crowded plot. In terms of filming and editing, Griffith rarely uses close-ups, camera moves, and only provides a dramatically cross-cut sequence near the very end where things do get exciting for a few minutes. Sadly, in that climax, the film chooses a sappy ending over a tragic, resonating one.
I wanted to believe that SCARLET DAYS was not the disappointment I’d read it was. Sadly, the others were right.
Watched on YouTube