Robert Harron


Directed by               D. W. Griffith
Produced by             D. W. Griffith
Scenario by               Captain Victor Marier (D.W. Griffith)          
Based on                    a screen story by Mary Castelman
Starring                     Lillian Gish, Robert Harron, George Fawcett, Kate Bruce
Cinematography       Billy Bitzer
Editing by                  James Smith
Distributed by           Paramount Pictures
Release date               January 26, 1919
Running time             77 min
Country                      United States
Language                    Silent film, English intertitles


This film is part of our series 'Hidden Gems'. It can be watched by registered users who make a donation. For more details, please click here.


"A Romance of Happy Valley" (1919) is a drama, included in our program to illustrate the work of two of our stars: actor Robert Harron and cinematographer Billy Bitzer.


John (Robert Harron) is a country boy working on his father's corn fields.  One day John meets a New York man, whose stories about wealth stir his imagination and he decides to leave for the big city in search of luck and fortune.  On his way John has to overcome the resistance of his parents, who want him to stay and work on the farm, and that of Jennie (Lillian Gish), the neighborhood girl who wants him around.

His mother goes to great lengths to stop him from leaving: she asks the priest to deliver a sermon against temptation.  John is recognized as the object of the sermon, he is humiliated and humbled, and promises to stay.  Jennie tries everything to keep him from leaving as well, dressing in fashionable clothes and wearing beautiful hats.  All these efforts fail, however, and John leaves in a hurry, only stopping to bid an emotional goodbye to Jennie, whom she promises to return in one year.

John's road to wealth is not covered with roses, however, and it takes him a lot of time and efforts to make his invention: a swimming frog toy.  Eight years pass, and although Jennie rejects the advances of other suitors, for her the romance with John is a distant memory.  John's parents are in trouble - they run the risk of losing their home for not being able to pay the mortgage. 

One day John's father in his desperation follows a rich city man with the intention to take his money.  Dramatic complications occur, as it turns out that on that exact day John returns home.  John's father has trouble recognizing his son and at the same time the rich city man ends up in the immediate vicinity of their home chased by the cops.

In the end Jennie gets a surprise visit that revives the all-but-forgotten past.

The film enjoys a strong rating in IMDB.


A Romance of Happy Valley (1919) on IMDb


Click to enlarge:

Lillian Gish and Robert Harron in A Romance of Happy Valley 1919 director DW Griffith cinematographer Billy Bitzer 16

   Lillian Gish and Robert Harron


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Below is a short preview of the film.