The Willow Tree (1920 film)

The Willow Tree is a surviving 1920 American silent film directed by Henry Otto and distributed by Metro Pictures. The film is based on a Broadway play, The Willow Tree, by J. H. Benrimo and Harrison Rhodes. Fay Bainter starred in the Broadway play in 1917. The film stars Viola Dana and is preserved in the George Eastman House Motion Picture Collection.[1][2][3]

The Willow Tree
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Directed byHenry Otto
Produced byScreen Classics Incorporated
Maxwell Karger
Written byJune Mathis (adaptation, scenario)
Based onThe Willow Tree
by J. H. Benrimo and Harrison Rhodes
StarringViola Dana
CinematographyJohn Arnold
Distributed byMetro Pictures
Release date
  • January 31, 1920 (1920-01-31)
Running time
6 reels
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)


As described in a film magazine,[4] O-Riu (Dana), daughter of a Japanese image-maker, rebels at his command that she marry a wealthy merchant in order to provide funds for her brother to attend an American college. Due to a coincidence, her flight is misinterpreted as a suicide, and her father sells to an Englishman living in the neighborhood his most prized image. Seeking refuge, O-Riu poses as the image and then "comes to life" apparently by magic. The Englishman falls in love with her and will not answer his country's call to arms until she has apparently disappeared. While he is away for four years, she lives at his home. When he returns after the war, they find happiness. The film has a parallel story concerning Japanese legends.



  1. "Silent Era : Progressive Silent Film List". Retrieved 21 October 2017.
  2. The American Film Institute Catalog Feature Films: 1911-20 by The American Film Institute, c.1988
  3. League, The Broadway. "The Willow Tree – Broadway Play – Original - IBDB". Retrieved 21 October 2017.
  4. "Reviews: The Willow Tree". Exhibitors Herald. New York City: Exhibitors Herald Company. 10 (8): 75. February 21, 1920.
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