Lillian Gish is Gripping … Drama of War Hatreds (Blade Tribune, 1928)

  • The Oceanside Blade – California
  • Blade Tribune, 6 April 1928
  • LILLIAN GISH IS GRIPPING … DRAMA OF WAR HATREDS

War and its horrors have been translated to the screen in many forms, the surge and thunder of battle has been depicted in great spectacles; the side of the soldier told in “The Big Parade” but to Lillian Gish has fallen the task of telling the side of those who, perhaps, suffer most but whose side has never before been presented—the side of the women who face starvation, grief and moral disintegration as a side issue in the struggles of nations. Such is her message in ‘“The Enemy,” Metro – Goldwyn – Mayer’s graphic depiction of Channing Pollock’s famous stage drama —a story of war away from the battlefield; a story of the hatreds, hysteria and breaking down of human relationships that follow like a pestilence in the wake of war propaganda.

On the stage the story was held the drama’s greatest gift to the cause of peace. As a vehicle for Miss Gish the new picture, will play at the Carlsbad Theatre Sunday and Monday, is one of the most gripping plays the famous star has ever appeared in. It presents a new Lillian Gish—a Lillian Gish in a modern role in a modern garb, in an intensely modern story. It tells of the after-war effects of international hatreds in a powerful dramatic theme. At times the star rises to almost sublime heights in the graphic portrayal of the tragic Pauli. Fred Niblo directed the picture, with a notable cast. Ralph Forbes plays Carl, the husband, and Ralph Emerson the English lover.

Frank Currier and George Fawcett have two splendidly-handled character roles as the old fathers of the couple, and Karl Dane and Polly Moran supply relief generously and well. Fritzi Ridgway in the role of Mitzi and John S. Peters as Fritz enact an interesting counterplot in the story, and little Billy Kent Schaeffer plays the child. Willis Goldbeck, noted for his work on “The Garden of Allah,” adapted the story from the original Channing Pollock stage play, And Agnes Christine Johnston wrote the scenario.

Lillian Gish and Ralph Forbes in “The Enemy” (MGM, 1927)

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Great Interest Is Manifest in Return of “White Sister” – Santa Cruz Evening News, 1924

  • Santa Cruz Evening News, Volume 33, Number 152, 28 April 1924
  • Great Interest Is Manifest in Return of “White Sister”

Lillian Gish does not act, but rather lives the title part in “The White Sister”

Lillian Gish does not act, but rather lives the title part in “The White Sister,” now playing a return engagement at the New Santa Cruz theater, having been brought Back in response to the insistent demands of the many who were unable to gain admission at the former showing. Cast by nature to give an illusion of belonging more to another world than this one, she puts a spiritual quality, an emotion and a tensity into the part which rises to breathtaking moments of artistry. Gish start in Biograph days is supremely fulfilled in Henry King’s production of “The White Sister.” Her popularity today is as sturdy as in the old days with the added advantage of having grown with each new performance. Her characterizations have matured and mellowed to a point of being sheer genius. No one has kept alive flame than Lillian Gish, no one has learned to burn finer.

The White Sister

Lillian Gish was born in Springfield, Ohio, and two years later her sister Dorothy was born in Dayton. They spent their childhood days in Massillon, Ohio.

Miss Gish completed her education at a finishing school and while still in her teens made her stage debut as a fairy in “The Good Little Devil,” produced by David Belasco. She was just sixteen then and her mother and sister had gone to California. She was seized with an acute attack of homesickness. This was increased one night when the wire, which permitted her to fly across the stage, broke and a disheartened fairy , with tears rolling down her pale cheeks, hit a responsive chord in the audience, but almost spoiled the show.

Lillian needed a change and soon the Gish trio was reunited, and Lillian toured the country with a repertoire show of which her sister Dorothy was a member, playing child parts.

The White Sister

Jumps to Films

All this time her reputation was growing as a distinct personality behind the footlights and then one day she went to the Biograph studio to visit Mary Pickford, whose film destinies were being guided by D. W. Griffith at the time. Miss Gish felt the lure of the movies for’ the first time. It was but a short time afterward that she became a member of the Biograph stock company. She played a wide variety of parts during this time, ranging from the little old mother in “Judith of Bethulia,” one of the first multiple reel pictures produced, to Colonel Cameron’s sweetheart in “The Birth of a Nation,” Griffith’s big feature spectacle. When Griffith left the Biograph fold, Lillian Gish followed him through his engagements with Reliance, Majestic, Fine Arts, Artcraft, First National and, finally, United Artists. Her reputation has traveled from coast to coast, country to country, as the result of her splendid impersonations in the living tales which Griffith brought forth. She appeared in “Intolerance” as the mother at the cradle. This was followed by her appearance in “Souls Triumphant.” “Hearts of the World,” “The Greatest Thing in Life,” “Romance of Happy Valley,” “True Heart Susie,” and “The Greatest Question.” Then she directed one of Dorothy’s pictures, “Remodeling Her Husband.” Her remarkable characterizations in “Broken Blossoms” and “Way Down’ East,” in which she portrayed young girl against all odds with the world, firmly established her as the screen’s most appealing actress. Her best role yet, where she has outdone anything in which she has hitherto appeared is in “The White Sister,” however.

The White Sister

STARTS TODAY By Popular Demand, Return Engagement Of the screen’s supreme masterpiece.

For you that have not seen Lillian Gish’s triumph, Here is your opportunity. For you that have, here is your chance to see it again and really appreciate the work of this artist.

F. MARION CRAWFORD’S famous novel filmed in the haunting old-world beauty of Italy.

TERRIFIC THRILLS Vesuvius in actual eruption, a town flooded by water, a fight on the Algerian desert! Lovely Miss Gish as a girl whose love was more eternal than her lover’s passion.

Santa Cruz Evening News 1924 – White Sister returns

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Lillian Gish is Hollywood’s living legend (San Bernardino Sun, 1978)

  • San Bernardino Sun, 3 December 1978
  • Lillian Gish is Hollywood’s living legend

Sophie Newsome padded off across the red velvet carpet of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel with the violets and the card that said “Miss Lillian Gish.” “This is one fine Lady … always has been in the 50 years she’s been coming here…one fine lady.”

It was the same across Los Angeles as the movie city’s longest running star Lillian Gish, 82 made her comeback in her 100th film, Robert Altman’s “A Wedding.” When the satire on modern marriage mores premiered at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, an opening night crowd of 1,000 celebrities roared with applause as she came to the stage. They were still clapping when she moved out in front, held out her arms and said: “I’m really glad to be back this town and this business has been so good to me.” Gish is the only superstar from the silent era still working in major motion pictures. “When I first came here in 1913 it was on the old Sunset Limited…I can still remember that wave of perfume that hit me as the train left San Bernardino and headed into Los Angeles, there were the orange blossoms from row after row of groves…then as we got into Hollywood, there were the roses. I thought I was in paradise. “It’s been 10 years since I made my last film (The Comedians’) but it seems as if there were no break at all in the timing because I’ve been so busy on stage (‘Musical Jubilee’) and in working on my own filmed retrospective history of the movies, ‘Infinity In An Hour.'” Her role as the bedridden matriarch in “A Wedding” resulted from a visit Altman made to Gish’s apartment a year ago.

“I’d had lots of offers during the 10 years,” she said. “But nothing really appealed to me…I make it a point only to work with people I like, you know. “A press agent friend of mine brought Bob Altman over one afternoon and he stayed two or three hours, telling me the story. What caught my attention was the death scene. He said I would die but that it would be amusing. Now, I’ve died lots of times in films, but never was it amusing.” The night after the premiere, Gish made preliminary arrangements for a feature length Gothic production, “The Bat” to be filmed in London. The resurgence is hardly a surprise to old-timers: Gish has been carefully timing her entrances and exits since the silent era ushered out with her classic MGM film “The Wind” in 1928. “I’ve always picked my films and plays by picking people,” she said. “Integrity and Intelligence are what’s important. I’ve never picked money. “Film is the greatest power the world has ever known…nothing else can so move the minds and hearts of the world.” Two hours later, at a Beverly Hills party, Carol Burnett leaned over and asked Lillian Gish: “What must it feel to be a living legend?” Gish winked. “Stick around, kid, you’ll find out.”

A Wedding

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Lillian Gish Baffles Storm in “Way Down East” Picture – Marysville Daily Appeal (1921)

  • Marysville Daily Appeal, Volume CXXII, Number 3, 5 January 1921
  • Lillian Gish Baffles Storm in “Way Down East” Picture

The backbone of February wan broken. But the winter of New England was still with us. February is a treacherous month, and so it was toward the end of last February that Lillian Gish was turned out into that New England snowstorm from the house of Squire Bartlett. And the greatest of all stage climaxes had begun with this frail yet strong heroine of ”Way Down East” as she was literally swept out in night’s highway by God’s elements. The directing low-commanding voice of Griffith could scarce be heard above the howl of wintry blasts and the blinding snow clogged the air like the veriest London fog. But out and on went Lillian Gish inspired with the staunch soul of Anna Moore within her own. So great was the upheaval of the elements that signals had to he used between Griffith and his brave little star. That magic word from the lips and voice of D. W. Grifith of Cameras pierced the howl of the winds and with an uplifted hand through the blinding snows came Lillian Gish staggering in her thin raiment of black. Little Anna was weak. She was homeless, deserted. In the walk one will see at the Atkins theater Friday and Saturday, January 14 and IS, there is registered in every tissue of that body and face what misery and cruelty can be wrought upon the human being in this world. She struggles against the wind, but the gales swirl her from her feet and she falls only to rise to try to move on to some undiscovered place where there might be surcease of strife from soul and body. What you will see upon the screen of the cinema art at the Atkins Theater of Lillian Gish as Anna Moore was no make-believe suffering. It had to be done, and Lillian did it that we might all realize it.

Lillian Gish – Ice Floe Scene – Way Down East

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Lillian Gish Broadcasts on Peace (Organized Labor 1936)

  • Organized Labor, Volume 37, Number 2, 11 January 1936
  • Lillian Gish Broadcasts on Peace

Lillian Gish, the charming and talented heroine of dozens of outstanding plays and movies has an unusual interest in the relation of her profession to peace. In a recent broadcast in which she spoke on the subject, “How Motion Pictures May Promote Peace,” Miss Gish emphasized how great a contribution the motion pictures can make toward understanding and friendship among nations. Miss Gish said: “Having grown up in motion pictures and believing in them to the extent almost of a new religion, I hope you will forgive the lack of humor in my earnest belief in their possibilities. Of all the arts, if it may be classified as one, the motion picture has in it perhaps more than any other the resources of universality. It is to help the people of the earth to know and understand each other that the universal engine that is the cinema can be made to serve this great cause.”

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Lillian Gish’s Gown Worn to Theater Is Simplest (San Francisco Call – 1922)

San Francisco Call, Volume 111, Number 79, 7 April 1922

Milady – By Norma Talmadge

Simplicity in Clothes Is Great Art; Lillian Gish’s Gown Worn to Theater Is Simplest

LOS ANGELES, April 7.

When I think of extreme simplicity in clothes, I think of Lillian Gish. Miss Gish, although always delightfully and attractively gowned, never seems to have a single unnecessary touch to her costume. Simplicity is a great art —in fact, it is art itself—but only the temperamentally artistic and women of unusual charm should adopt it exclusively—it is at once unusual and expensive. Many beautiful women cannot afford to truest to simplicity in dressing, for the simple reason that in order to have their beauty gleam and glow properly’, it must, like the ruby or emerald, have just the proper setting—and frequently that setting is ornate rather than simple. Not long ago I saw Lillian Gish at the theater and I was struck with the utter simplicity of her gown. It was of a soft shade of blue —French, I believe it is called —and the material was of heavy taffeta or brocade. It had a round neck, long flowing sleeves and a full skirt, and she wore it with absolutely nothing in the way of decoration. Her hands were ringless and the splendid string of pearls which I have sometimes seen about her neck was absent, while not a touch of so much as a single flower ornamented her costume. This was absolutely perfect for Lillian Gish —but, after all, there is only one Lillian Gish, and few, indeed, are the women I know, either in the social world or of the stage or screen, who could becomingly adopt so utterly simple a toilette.

Lillian Gish Publicity; Photographer – Kenneth Alexander (1922). Autographed photograph

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Grauman’s Egyptian Program – Romola

Grauman Books Lillian Gish in “Romola” for Hollywood

ONE week after its world premiere at the George M. Cohan Theatre in New York, the Lillian and Dorothy Gish special, “Romola,” will go into Sid Grauman’s Egyptian Theatre, Hollywood, for a long run starting December 8.

Grauman’s Egyptian Program – Lillian Gish

Sid Grauman plans to give Henry King’s new Inspiration production, distributed by Metro-Goldwyn, the most elaborate prologue he has staged in the Egyptian Theatre. As the Egyptian prologues are famous for their lavish beauty, Mr. Grauman’s intention in regard to “Romola” indicates that the production is expected to achieve a record run there. With “Romola” playing at both ends of the country at the same time, the publicity from these two engagements is expected to “cover” the entire United States territory in which the picture will afterward play. “Romola” has an immense audience waiting for it, as the George Eliot novel on which the picture is based is one of the most famous standard books, and the reunion of Lillian and Dorothy Gish in the picture is counted on to prove a big draw. Dorothy has a featured role in the production in which Lillian is the star.

Grauman’s Egyptian Program – Lillian Gish

The broad entrance to the Egyptian was a blaze of light and gala dress parade. The crowds massed on both sides to see the greatest of filmland pass. Doug and Mary (who had already run “Romola” in their home theatre), Charlie, Jackie . . . never mind the list, they were all there. High above, the name of LILLIAN GISH blazed out in tall letters. “When she arrived, and Dorothy, and their mother, their cars were fairly mobbed. Cameras were going, everybody had to pause a moment at the entrance for something special in that line. Manager Grauman was photographed between the two stars of the evening, properly set off and by no means obliterated, small man though he was, by the resplendent gowns. After which, came the performance. Manager Grauman had fairly laid himself out on an introductory feature. There were ten numbers of it, each more astonishing than the preceding: “Italian Tarantella,” “Harlequin and Columbine,” “The Eighteen Dance Wonders,” but why go on? It was a gorgeous show all in itself. After which, the beautiful processional effects of Romola’s story.

Lillian Gish, Sid Grauman and Dorothy Gish at The Egyptian

There was no lack of enthusiasm in the audience. When the picture ended and the lights went on, and Lillian and Dorothy appeared before the curtain, the applause swelled to very great heights indeed. And when a speech was demanded, Lillian, in her quiet, casual way, said:

“Dear ladies and gentlemen, both Dorothy and I do so hope you have liked ‘Romola.’ If you  have, then, dear, kind friends, you have made us very happy, very happy indeed . . . and you have made Mr. King, who directed ‘Romola,’ very happy, too.”

From the applause that followed, it was clear that there was no question as to the importance of the occasion — all the more so, had they known that, for Hollywood, at least, it was the last public appearance of these two together.

Egyptian Theater -1922

Photo Gallery – Advertising Romola

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Way Down East – Program

Probably motion picture exhibitors won’t have a chance to book “Way Down East” for at least a year, as it will be played as a regular road show during that time. But remember this: when you finally have the opportunity to book it—that it is one of the biggest things ever seen on the screen. It looks as if it would run “The Birth of a Nation” a close race for box office honors and when, some many years hence, all is said and done and counted, it won’t be at all surprising if it surpasses it. The biggest thing about “Way Down East” is that it is lasting. This has been proven by the famous old play, and this play never reached the public finished off as artistically and as powerfully as Griffith’s picture. It’s an entertainment that people have gone to see again and again. And they will continue to do so. Even beneath the surface of the purely melodramatic play rested elements that brought the crowds back whenever it was presented.

Way Down East – Lobby Cards

“Way Down East” – Lillian Gish

Lillian Gish undoubtedly does her best work to date as Anna Moore, the featured load. She combines subtly the simple-hearted childishness for which her characterizations have long been known with the hurt reserve that the spirit bruising knocks of a cruel world accomplish so quickly in dazed youth. There are few light touches in her offering, and it is much more effective so.

Lillian Gish lifts her eyes to heaven as she flees across the shifting ice floes. Her performance as Anna dramatized the shifting perception of women in the decade following passage of the women’s suffrage amendment.

Way Down East – Photo Gallery HiRes – Download

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