Musée d'Orsay: The Struggle

The Struggle

Director: David W. Griffith
USA, 1931, 87 min

Screenplay: John Emerson, D.W. Griffith
Starring: Hal Skelly, Zita Johann, Charles Richman, Helen Mack

The harmony of a family is destroyed by the husband’s alcoholism.

A free adaptation of Emile Zola’s L'Assommoir, this was David W. Griffith’s last film. A far cry from the epic feature films that made him famous, this is a modest drama, filmed on a low budget in just one month in the streets of the Bronx. However, Griffith did not turn his back on the history of his country: alcoholism here is a consequence both of Prohibition and the Great Depression. The film’s simplicity, its link with the silent screen, was considered at the time to be somewhat naïve. It is this lack of sophistication that moves us today.




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