Leave a light on for, House of Darkness!

This is another one of D W Griffth’s great short films, made in 1913. This film centers around a a group of people at a mental institution. At the start of the film we see a woman mourning the loss of her baby by craddling a blanket, this is in order to show us just what kind of individuals we will be dealing with throughout the short. The main plot follows one of the male patients, played by Charles Hill Mailes, as he has violent altercations with other patients and escapes the institution on a regular basis. This is the weakest aspect of the short as we are lead to believe that fairly minor distractions can result in the escape and ensuing chase of mental patients. We are also lead to believe that music really does sooth the savage beast as a piano is the only thing that can distract the main character long enough to actually want to return to his captures. From a technical perspective the film was a marvel. The scene in which the mental patient is watching the doctors wife is particularly well done and is considered by many to be a critical achievement in film making.


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