AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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The Greatest Question
Director: D. W. Griffith (Dir)
Release Date:   28 Dec 1919
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Cast: Lillian Gish  (Nellie Jarvis)
  George Fawcett  (John Hilton)
  Eugenie Besserer  (Mrs. Hilton)
 

Summary: Four-year-old Nellie Jarvis witnesses the murder and burial of a girl by a man and his wife, but as she grows older, her memory of the event becomes vague. Nellie goes to live with the poor Hilton family after her parents die, but when John, the eldest son, goes to war, Nellie goes to work for the brutal Cains, who, unknown to her, murdered the girl. After John dies and Mrs. Hilton has a vision of him at the moment of death, the Hiltons, on the verge of selling their farm, go to John's grave where his ghost advises them to keep it. The next day oil is found on their land. The youngest Hilton son, Jimmie, who loves Nellie, goes to tell her the news and rescues her just as Mrs. Cain, who discovered her husband trying to rape Nellie, is about to murder her because Nellie now remembers them as murderers. The Cains are arrested and Nellie and Jimmie look forward to a happy future. 

Distribution Company: First National Exhibitors' Circuit, Inc.
Production Company: D. W. Griffith
Director: D. W. Griffith (Dir)
Producer: D. W. Griffith (Pres)
Writer: William Hale (Story)

Subject Major: Family life
  Ghosts
  Memory
  Murder
  Recognition
  Visions
 
Subject Minor: Attempted murder
  Attempted rape
  Children
  Farms
  Oil
  Rescues
  War victims

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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