The Country Doctor

The Country Doctor
R: David Wark Griffith (uncredited). K: G.W. Bitzer. D: Frank Powell, Florence Lawrence, Rose King, Kate Bruce, Gladys Egan, Mary Pickford. P: Biograph. USA 1909

The Country Doctor begins with its most beautiful moment, as Billy Bitzer‘s camera, under D.W. Griffith‘s direction, slowly pans over a rolling bucolic plain, eventually pausing in front of the home of Dr. Harcourt (Frank Powell), sauntering outside with his wife (Biograph star Florence Lawrence) and their child Edith (Gladys Egan). The play of natural light in this scene is gorgeous, even if the shots seem more protracted than necessary, and their beauty doesn’t necessarily evoke a deeper idiom or a set of relationships like the rustic opening of Corner in Wheat does.”
Nick Davis

“Billy Bitzer’s camera drinks in the Connecticut scenery and you can practically smell the warm summer air.”
Movies Silently

“In Griffith’s The Country Doctor, a long pan shot starts and ends the film. The first pan over Stillwater ends on a family leaving their home. The final pan begins on the same house and ends on a view of the river. In the closing pan shot, no human characters are seen, making it difficult for the viewer’s grief to have an anchor in the form of a character that registers the missing child. [The critic C. Scott] Combs greatly admires the director’s style, stating, ‘Griffith suggests death changes the diegetic world.'”
Senses of Cinema