US 1921, D John M. Stahl, SC Chester L. Roberts based on a story by Perry N. Vekroff, C Ernest G. Palmer, E Madge Tyrone, P John M. Stahl Productions, Cast Barbara Castleton, Adele Farrington, Winter Hall, Lewis Stone, William Desmond, Richard Headrick, Mary Forbes, Helen Howard, Mayre Hall, Ruby McCoy, Print b/w, 35mm, 72 min, silent, engl. INT, Library of Congress/Warner Bros.
The Child Thou Gavest Me is based on a story by Perry N. Vekroff, who, like director John M. Stahl, was an Eastern European immigrant working in Hollywood’s film industry. The film begins with a wedding, though, alas, no honeymoon is to follow. Before the ceremony can come to a close, the bride’s illegitimate child shows up unexpectedly. The marriage is maintained for outside appearances, but the husband’s jealousy and murderous cravings threaten to bring the construction tumbling to the ground. Resolution comes with the return of the past.
„[But] the skilled melodrama, deploying all the resources of cinematography and editing, disguises such improbabilities and narrative lacunae through the drive and necessities of its emotional forces. In The Child Thou Gavest Me we see melodrama’s capacity to engineer the concatenation of familiar character types, discursive tropes and dramatic incidents through the forces of coincidences, crossed paths, blocked knowledge and misrecognition, in order to generate confrontations that bring past into the present as a means of pointing towards a possible refigured future.“ (Christine Gledhill, Festival Publication Views of History, 2019)
Accompanied on the piano by Maud Nelissen