The White Rose was a reunion between Mae Marsh and director D.W. Griffith. The leading man was a British import, Ivor Novello. He plays an embryo minister who seduces and abandons poor Miss Marsh. She has a baby and then collapses in an idyllic northern locale that just happens to house her ex… Whoopy! Getting my Griffith Unwed Mother stories mixed up. She collapses in an idyllic southern locale that just happens to house her ex. Dearie me. What will our minister do? (Hint: Not rescue her from ice floes.)
In any case, this is one of his pickup lines. Presumably, he is asking Miss Marsh’s permission to throw her out of a window. What’s that? Wrong interpretation of the line? Hmmph! Well, you have to admit, it would have made for a more interesting movie.
I really do like Ivor Novello but he does the strangest things with his face sometimes.
This time, we have some trivia from one of D.W. Griffith’s more obscure films. The White Rose was a return to themes that he held dear: spiritual crises, single motherhood, poverty, Southern gentility and abused waifs. The White Rose is also of interest as it marks the return of Mae Marsh to the Griffith banner. The whole thing is very much a throwback to the storytelling of five or ten years before.
Marsh’s leading man is Ivor Novello, a Welsh leading man who was wildly popular both as an actor and a composer. He, of course, achieved screen immortality (at least on this side of the Atlantic) for his title role in Hitchcock’s first Hitchcock film, The Lodger.
D.W. Griffith tried to break his slump by casting Mae Marsh and scrumptious Welsh heartthrob Ivor Novello in this tale of single motherhood and spiritual crisis. Minister-to-be Novello seduces and abandons orphan flapper Marsh, who must face the cruel world, etc. etc. Griffith has done all this before (and better) but his leads try their hardest and almost manage to put it over. Almost. A mixed bag.
How does it end? Hover or tap below for a spoiler.
Marsh and her baby wander into Novello’s neck of the woods, where he promptly realizes the error of his ways and he makes an honest woman of our heroine on her sickbed. Happy endings for all.
Child neglect, single moms, personal crisis… Just another day D.W. Griffith-land. Mae Marsh is Teazie, a young orphan who flirts as way to get much-needed attention. Ivor Novello is Joseph, a freshly ordained minister who mistakes her flirtations for an immoral character. What follows can best be described as Way Down East meets The Scarlet Letter.