During Louis XVI's tyrannical reign, a high-born woman is forced to give up her daughter, the result of a relationship with a commoner. Left to freeze on the steps of Notre Dame, she is rescued by a starving peasant who rethinks his decision to abandon his own child and raises the two as inseparable sisters (played by Dorothy and Lillian Gish) who are indeed separated during the turmoil of the Revolution. Despite its extreme length, D.W. Griffith once more advanced movie storytelling techniques with Orphans of the Storm. The Gish sisters are sublimely emotive and the rollicking finale and historical recreations are superb.
*** 1/2 out of ****