This glimpse of one of the early scenes in “The White Sister,” Lillian Gish’s first picture for the Inspiration company, holds rare promise of beauty, for it seems to haye caught in its very backgrounds her ephemeral charm.
Ever since the first announcement almost a year ago that Lillian Gish was going to play this widely known heroine of F. Marion Crawford’s there has been keen interest in this production. For such quiet power and spiritual beauty as hers suits the character of the little romantic girl who enters a convent when her sweetheart disappears.
Lillian Gish, away from the guiding hand of Griffith, proves to be as moving as ever. In an emotional race with Vesuvius in eruption she captures all the honors. In her support she has a tragic but uplifting story, real Italian scenery, and a charming new leading man named Ronald Colman.
This is heavy drama, and it lias what you call an unhappy ending, but if you are a showman you can cash in in a big way, clean up some real money, and thoroughly satisfy your cash contributors.
There is a lyric quality to Lillian Gish’s acting in “The White Sister” (Inspiration) which has never been recognized before. In that respect Henry King who directed this tragic story of broken romance has brought forward a talent which Griffith neglected in order to create an emotional outburst, of pent-up floods of passions and fear. As the frail, tender misguided child of fate, Miss Gish makes poignant appeal. It is heart-rending to see this tormented soul taking her separation from her lover with such courage and when learning of his death, turning her back on the world and finding peace and sanctuary in the Church.
Miss Gish gives a truly great performance, and Ronald Colman does a bit of work that will make producers check up on him. Gail Kane is a splendid menace, and the remainder of the cast is more than satisfactory because the Italian players were not permitted to overact.
“The sincerity of Miss Gish’s acting is the greatest tribute to her genius. The balance of the cast have been expertly chosen,” is the opinion of the San Francisco Examiner critic.
“Beauty, reverence, the swirl of wild passion, the power of purity, a man’s sacrifice for his fellows — these are some of the impressions brought away from looking at The White Sister,” stated the San Francisco Chronicle.
“There are two outstanding features of The White Sister. One, and that which is called first to the attention of the viewer, is the beauty of the production. The second is the acting of Lillian Gish in the title role,” said the San Francisco Call and Post.