Home, Sweet Home
R: David W. Griffith, B: H.E. Aitken, D.W. Griffith. K: G.W. Bitzer. D: Robert Harron, Mae Marsh, Henry Walthall, Josephine Crowell, Lillian Gish, Dorothy Gish, Donald Crisp, James Kirkwood, Jack Pickford, Courtenay Foote, Blanche Sweet, Owen Moore. P: Reliance Motion Picture Corporation and Majestic Motion Picture Company. USA 1914
“All the best players under Griffith’s command are in this feature at one time or another. In illustrating the effect of the immortal song, together with the early life and death of the author of it, along with an allegory of the great good the lyric has accomplished, the scenario writers delved into love and the Wild West.
The first reels are devoted to John Howard Payne, showing him to have written the song in a foreign land, dying shortly after. The next episode is a western mining camp, to which comes a young easterner, who falls in love. They become engaged; the easterner is called back home; his love for a young woman of his own set is rekindled; he returns to the camp, and leaves without seeing Mary, but on his way back is stopped by an organ grinder playing ‘Home Sweet Home’.
In the third episode, a wife about to become unfaithful to her husband is stopped by the music of a violin above her apartment playing the strain, and she travels thereafter in the dutiful path.”
“Program notes for this (…) production – the first feature-length episode film produced in the United States – indicate that companies and reviewers were using the term ‘episode’ to denote the individual stories within multi-narrative works as early as the 1910s and 1920s (and that only much later did critics begin inventing neologisms such as ‘dramette’,’cinemanecdote’, and so on to describe an episode). Home, Sweet Home also anticipates subsequent ‘rushes to the relicts’, to paraphrase Tom Gunning‘s description of adaptation in his study of the origins of American narrative film.”
David Scott Diffrient: Omnibus Films: Theorizing Transauthorial Cinema. Edinburgh University Press 2014, p. 38