Footage Information

Archive Films by Getty Images
AFP-6EI 16mm
Silent Feature
Clergy, country, marriage, heroines, farmers, small town life, cows, morality, milliners, melodrama, soap operas, high school sweethearts, parties, rain storm.
00:00:00:00 - 01:01:31:42 B W Silent 1919 "Susie Trueheart." Silent feature directed by D.W. Griffith. Starring Lillian Gish as Susie, Loyola O'Conner, Robert Harron, Walter Higby. Simple country girl Susie May Trueheart sells her cow and some other possessions to pay secretly for her sweetheart, neighbor William Jenkins, to go to college to be a minister. Although Susie prepares for his proposal when he returns, she unhappily settles for his friendship when he marries the flashily dressed Bettina Hopkins, a milliner from Chicago. Disappointed in his marriage, as is Bettina, William warns Susie to be sure she marries the right man, while his wife clandestinely resumes a flirtation w Sporty Malone. After Bettina sneaks out to a party w Sporty and spends the night w Susie, having lost her house key, she becomes ill from the storm that night and dies. William, believing Bettina's story that she went out that night to get a book he wanted, vows never to marry again, but when he finds out about Susie's sacrifice for his education and that Bettina went to the party, he and Susie are reunited. 00:00:00:00 - 00:03:52:65 B W Silent 1919 Cast of characters. Background info on director D.W. Griffith. Title- "Is real life interesting? Every incident of this story is taken from real life." "Do men look for the true heart of women? Or are most of them caught by the net of paint, powder and suggestive clothes?" INT: One-room schoolhouse. Teacher gives class a lesson. Lillian Gish (Susie Trueheart) & male student (William) listen. Children leave schoolhouse. Susie's sweetheart William carves their initials in tree. They walk home hand-in-hand. He waves goodbye. (Young love) 00:03:52:66 - 00:04:55:37 B W Silent 1919 Susie enters front gate of her house, goes inside. Her elderly aunt knits & sits in rocking chair. Meanwhile, her boyfriend jumps over fence, enters house. Susie looks at portrait of her mother holding herself as baby. She tells her mother that her sweetheart walked her home. Young man, her sweetheart, asks farmer father to go to college for ministry, but is told they can't afford it. "A good farmer is better than a poor lawyer or preacher." 00:04:55:38 - 00:06:58:89 B W Silent 1919 Susie & William walk on path to village. Other girl flirts w William (adjusts his tie, jacket) Susie pulls him back & they continue. In town- well-dressed city man sits in passenger seat of car w flat tire talking to villagers. Black man fixes his tire. Tells William "My boy, in your face I see the makings of a great man!" Says he will contact William to make him famous. William & Susie look at each other w amazement. Car drives away & villagers wave to him. 00:06:58:90 - 00:12:08:00 B W Silent 1919 William & Susie return home. Title: Time passes w no letters from the big city agent. Susie kneels outdoors is field & talks to her cow about her hopes for William's future. She hugs & kisses cow. Title: She proposes to aunt to sell cow & other property to send William to college. Aunt is surprised. CU Cow's face. CU Susie explains that their calf will grow up soon for milk & butter. VS farm livestock: chickens feeding. Title: "The various stepping stones on which William is to rise to fame." Susie sells cow to male farmer, has him sign written promise to make the animal a member of his family. Susie & her aunt write to city man, telling him that the boy's tuition & expenses are covered, so all man has to do is write to William & pretend he has paid for college. William receives letter, is overjoyed. Susie pretends to be surprised. William kisses her & her aunt goodbye at gate. 00:12:08:01 - 00:15:45:58 B W Silent 1919 William works as waiter in cafeteria to help pay for college. Title: his nickname has become "Butter." VS rich male students laughing, yelling boisterously at table as William stands by to serve pats of butter. CU hand filling spoon w soup & springing it back into William's face. Susie reads letter from William at home. Highlighted portion: "So far, I haven't met anyone I like better than the people at home." Susie is excited to read this, kisses letter repeatedly & dances. Male student provokes William by calling him "butter." The two young men fist fight in field. William wins- tells students to call him Bill, not "butter." 00:15:45:71 - 00:21:05:32 B W Silent 1919 William returns to country after graduation (w mustache) goes to Susie's house. Susie runs into house- nervously asks Aunt to check her dress, they go to drugstore for a "sody." TS William & Susie walk on main street of town, William strokes his mustache proudly & smiles. CU Susie's shoes. Title "Squeak, squeak." They order ice cream sodas from soda jerk. William notices two young women at end of counter chatting. He tells Susie "Men flirt with that kind, but they marry the plain & simple ones." She is not flattered, but remembers this. 00:21:05:33 - 00:27:12:05 B W Silent 1919 WS villagers at ice cream festival in church for departing town minister, whom William is replacing. CU young girl blowing noisemaker. William is introduced to young woman (Bettina) wearing makeup & dress. Susie looks at her aunt who tells her WIlliam was just being polite to stranger. He walks woman to her house. She says to her elderly relative that William's only a "punk country minister" but she needs to marry soon. She applies makeup, lipstick in bedroom mirror. William & woman sit outdoors on bench. CU Bettina's leg moves closer to his. Susie works outdoors in garden, spies on William & Bettina walking. CU Susie's face. Woman picks flower & pins it on his lapel, kissing it. 00:27:12:06 - 00:29:58:84 B W Silent 1919 Susie tries to "spruce up" her looks to attract William's attention at parade. Aunt catches her applying face powder & says "You think you can improve on the Lord's work?" Remembering William's earlier comments about men marrying plain women, she removes makeup & puts on her regular dress. Day of parade. William, sitting w Susie, asks her if he should get married. She says "Oh yes. They have more respect for a married minister," & looks at him hopefully. He leaves quickly. 00:29:58:85 - 00:37:12:77 B W Silent 1919 William shows Bettina an acceptance letter for his short story. She reacts in a bubbly way. Reaction shot of Susie watching scornfully. William asks Bettina to marry him. She claims to be flustered, asks for 15 minutes to think. She enters another room, spots man outside her balcony, calling his name, "Sporty!" The old flame climbs up to her window- they hold hands & kiss. Window shutters fly open. Susie spots them & happily believes that Bettina has gone back to her true love. She goes home & prepares herself to pursue William. Meanwhile, William paces in hallway waiting for answer. Sporty leaves & Bettina tells William that she'll marry him. They embrace. Susie returns in new dress & makeup & overhears them. Long CU Susie reacts deliriously & stumbles down hallway. Bettina & William's parents congratulate couple. Susie & her aunt reenter & sadly join in congratulations. 00:37:12:79 - 00:39:16:21 B W Silent 1919 Title: "The Merry Wedding Bells." Susie watches sadly as Bettina prepares her wedding dress. She is asked to help adjust the back of gown. Bettina rushes into church, holding bridal bouquet, followed by Susie, her aunt & Bettina's mother. William & his father hurry to prepare. WS Wedding ceremony in chapel. Guests in pews. Bride & groom at altar. Minister conducts ceremony. CU Susie watches. William looks bewildered. Guests congratulate couple. They leave in carriage as crowd of guests wave goodbye. Susie waves from her gate, retreats into yard & collapses on ground. 00:39:16:22 - 00:42:21:29 B W Silent 1919 Time has passed. William & Bettina as married couple at breakfast table. She blows him kisses & pours tea. Title- more time passes. Same table. William asks for food. Bettina points him to counter. He picks up plate w CU dry, shriveled piece of meat. He complains that they've eaten nothing but cold meat for a month. She replies "Eat it and like it." Bettina angrily explodes at William & breaks plate on floor, saying "I hate this damn place." WIlliam & Bettina have dinner w Susie & her aunt. She serves roast turkey. William complements Susie's cooking to Bettina's dismay. 00:42:21:30 - 00:47:39:04 B W Silent 1919 Sporty & three young women pile out of car, arrive for surprise visit at Bettina's, knowing her husband William is away. Sporty & women play the piano, sing & dance. Bettina worriedly closes the window shades. Title: Susie prepares to destroy William's old letters outdoors. William walks on other side of fence, greets her. He asks about love letters- advises her if she marries to make sure she gets "the right one." William walks by tree, sees the old initials he carved for them. Flashback- William & Susie kiss by tree. William returns home to see Bettina hugging & dancing w Sporty. He enters party, confronts his wife & asks if she kissed Sporty. She promises him she didn't & they embrace. Cut to: Susie w her cats, reading love letters from William & erasing sections. 00:47:39:05 - 00:54:47:10 B W Silent 1919 William & Bettina sit in living room. Bettina claims she will sleep in separate bedroom. William mentions how he needs to get reference book. She sneaks out window to drive car to party w Sporty & friends. She & other guests dance wildly- she drops her house key. William tosses & turns in bed. Susie tucks her aunt under covers in bed. She listens at wall as William paces restlessly. Title: Caught in the rain storm. Susie, Sporty & others in car, driving in rainstorm. She is dropped off, locked out of house & is forced to go to Susie's house. She confesses to Susie, cries & asks her to put her up for the night & lie for her. Susie & Bettina sleep in same bed. Susie looks at her & makes a fist. She then comforts her w pity & pats her head. 00:54:47:11 - 00:58:11:48 B W Silent 1919 William wakes up & goes upstairs to Bettina's room. He bangs on door angrily. He finds Bettina at Susie's. She tells him she took a walk, picked up his book & visited Susie, but got caught in the rain. He holds book & goes from being angry to understanding. Bettina develops fatal illness (pneumonia?). William sits at her bedside, resolves to never have another love. She asks to tell him the truth about book. He doesn't want to talk about it. Title : "She dies as she has lived- a little unfaithful." Doctor closes her eyes. 00:58:11:49 - 01:01:31:42 B W Silent 1919 Title: "Susie would never break his faith." William walks up to porch at Susie's. Her aunt shows him receipt from his college tuition & tells him that Susie paid for his schooling. He goes by old tree where they carved initials. Later, a woman from the party that Bettina went to stops to ask William for forgiveness- now he knows his wife lied about that night. Title: "Freed at last from his mistaken vow." He goes to Susie's house. She waters plants in window. He says he knows the truth. She drops her water pot. He asks "Is it too late? I know now I have loved you all my life." CU He kisses her. WS They walk down country path into distance.