Chicago Tribune Illustrated Notes (Lillian Gish) – articles placed in chronological order
Chicago Tribune – Sunday, January 27 1927 – Page 94
Lillian Gish is Annie Laurie
Lillian Gish is the demure damsel before you, and she looks like this in “Annie Laurie,” in which picture she has the role of the Scottish Joan of Arc.
Lillian Gish literally is Annie Laurie. Those who imagined her as a myth or legend will be amazed at the actual woman; Miss Gish is a faithful portrayer of the real Annie Laurie, who lived centuries ago whose love and whose heroism turned the tide of Scottish history in a real life drama more powerful than any imagined by a scenarist; and whose romance has come down to the world in song of the ancient bard. “Annie Laurie” is a tremendous drama of history. It deals with the gigantic ferment and struggle in Scotland that culminated in the Glencoe Massacre.
It is all laid on actual fact. Miss Gish, as the historic daughter of Sir Robert Laurie, chief of Clan Campbell, approaches the genius of Bernhardt, but always coupled with her own ethereal charm, in the mighty drama, in which she enacts the Scottish Joan of Arc. Norman Kerry plays the hero as a chieftain of the enemy clan of MacDonald. The great battle scenes, with hordes of six foot wanders in tartans and plaids, battling with shield and claymore—the majesty of the ancient Scotch castles these all add glamor. But the charm of Lillian Gish pervades it all.
Annie Laurie – Photo Gallery
Admin note: Lillian, however, was riding on the top wave. An English company offered her the lead in “The Constant Nymph”; a great German company offered the part of Juliet: “Cannot tell you how delighted we should be, if the remotest possibility”; de la Falaise offered her the part of Joan of Arc, in a picture for which Pierre Champion, the great French authority on Joan, had prepared the scenario. To the last named, she replied that she had long been considering the part of Joan, and put the matter aside with real regret. And many wanted to write of her. Whatever she did, or was about to do, was news. A magazine, Liberty, sent a gifted young man, Sidney Sutherland, all the way to the Coast to see her. He had expected to do one, possibly two, articles, but his editors asked for more, and under the general title of “Lillian the Incomparable” continued his chapters —”reels” as he not inaptly termed them—through nine weekly instalments! On any excuse, and with no excuse at all, other than what it presented, and stood for, periodicals carried her picture. Vanity Fair published a full front-page portrait, by Steichen, nominating her “The First Lady of the Screen.”
Chicago Tribune – Monday, September 23, 1940 – Page 15
Boost Shop to Aid War Sufferers
Miss Lillian Gish and Mrs. Ernest A. Hamill II. With a Toby jug that Mrs. Robert J. Dunham donated to the shop for the British War Relief society that decorators and architects of Chicago will open today. The jug will bring a considerable sum, no doubt, for it was made in 1780 by Ralph Wood, English potter. Miss Gish will assist in the shop late this afternoon.
Chicago Tribune – April, Sunday 3, 1938 – Page 93
Playgoers Await ‘Star-Wagon’ and Musical Shows
By Charles Collins
The Chicago stage settled down into Lenten poverty with last night’s departure of Orson Welles’ staging of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” as a parable of Fascism, and “Father Malachy’s Miracle.” “Room Service” keeps the spirit of merriment alive at the Selwyn theater, and Maurice Schwartz’s production of the Yiddish drama, “The Brothers Ashkenazi,” remains at the Studebaker for another week; but elsewhere there is vacancy, pending the renewal of activity, especially in musical shows, that the spring is expected to bring.
The first arrival of the spring theatrical season will be “The Star-Wagon,” a play by Maxwell Anderson with Burgess Meredith and Lillian Gish as the leaders of the cast. This work has been one of the favorite items on the Broadway playbills since last fall, and it will come to the Grand Opera house immediately after the closing of its New York run. The premiere is scheduled for the Tuesday before Easter Sunday, or April 12.
This work is a fantastic comedy, dealing with an old inventor and his colleague who are given a supernatural opportunity to live their lives over again and correct their errors of judgement which had deprived them of material success. The content and meaning of the play are serious and reveal certain aspects of Maxwell Anderson’s philosophy, but there is said to be much humor in the treatment of the incidents.
Lillian Gish, who appears as the heroine, has an international reputation because of her participation in some of the most popular productions of the silent films. It is said that no movie in which she figured over a period of fifteen years netted less than $1,000,000. They included “The Birth of a Nation,” “Broken Blossoms,” “Way Down East,” and “The White Sister.”
Two years ago Miss Gish and her sister, Dorothy, also famous as a film actress in the pre-talkie era, were travelling through the Balkan states. They stopped at a hut on the Albanian frontier, a mountainous region miles away from any motion picture theater. The woman of the house was an ignorant, barefooted peasant, but she recognized Lillian Gish instantly. Years before, the priest of the parish had arranged for an exhibition of the film, “The White Sister,” strongly religious of sentiment, in his church, and she had seen it.
Miss Gish withdrew from the film studios when the talkies arrived and returned to the dramatic stage in 1930 in a distinguished production of Chekhoff’s “Uncle Vanya,” which was seen in Chicago. Since then she has acted in a revival of “Camille” both at Central City, Colo., and in New York; in Sean O’Casey’s “Within the Gates,” in Philip Barry’s “The Joyous Season,” and in Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” She was the Ophelia to John Gielgud’s Prince of Denmark in New York last year.
“The Star-Wagon” gives Miss Gish a “protean role.” She acts a poor old household drudge, a winsome girl of 20, and a wealthy but unhappy wife of 55. These, of course, are phases of the same character.
Chicago Tribune – Sunday, April 21, 1918 – Page 37
“Hearts of the World”
By Mae Tinee
This being Sunday, with everybody having a little leisure, may be as good a time as any other for me to answer the questions that come pouring in regarding the new Griffith picture, “Heart of the World,” which will have its premier showing on Wednesday night at the Olympic. Time: 8:15.
Where was the picture taken?
On the European battlefields.
What made Mr. Griffith think of taking it?
It happened this way: He went to Europe to procure scenes for six Artcraft pictures which he was under contract to make. He was just about to start back, when Lord Beaverbrook of the British publicity bureau approached him with a request. He said that the government was about to make some official war films and the valuable experience of Mr. Griffith was desired. One thing led to another. It was finally decided to make the official films, but to weave them with a story of charm and power.
“A crowd of us used to get together,” Mr. Griffith said, “and discuss the subject. We all had our own ideas, but finally it was decided that Georges De Tolignac had the right one. M. De Tolignac is a close friend of J. M. Barry.
“He said, ‘Just let the story be a simple heart tale, like one of the many thousand which are being lived each day over here. A simple story about simple folk – such a story as all many understand.’ We told him to write it. He named it, too.
“First I didn’t care for the name. Now I think it’s the best one that could possibly have been chosen. It is a cry from ‘Hearts of the World’ to hearts of the world.”
What is the story about?
It is a romance of love and action with a setting of war stricken France and Belgium, and briefly is of the love affair between a young American artist (Robert Harron) and an American girl (Lillian Gish), who both reside in France. They are engaged to be married, and the date for the wedding set when war is declared and the Huns loom up with their hideous menace.
“Any country that’s good enough to live in is worth fighting for!” says the American boy, and he joins the French army. From then on the story, it is said, is one series of thrills after another until in the end the allies come to the rescue of the beleaguered girl and her townspeople and send the audience away with a smile on their lips.
How long was the picture in the taking?
Who gets the money from the film?
Half of the proceeds go to British charities.
You’re acquainted with the people in it. The leads will be taken by Lillian Gish, Robert Harron, George Seigman, George Fawcett and Josephine Crowell.
Prominent figures in the history of the day will be seen and the supers are none others than the real people suffering and living in Belgium and France today.
Chicago Tribune – October, Sunday 13, 1929 – Part 7, Page 58
Lillian Gish Ready to start on a Talkie
Chooses “The Swan” as Her First Venture
By Rosalind Shaffer (Chicago Tribune Press Service)
Hollywood Cal. – [Special Correspondence] – Lillian Gish is about to begin rehearsals on her first talking picture “The Swan,” from the play by Ferenc Molnar. Looking extremely well after her prolonged vacation occasioned by the giving up plans to make “The Miracle Woman,” by Reinhardt, some months ago, Miss Gish is most interested with the idea of doing a talkie.
“I really have done about everything I could for silent pictures,” she said. “I have made all the faces I know; I even went to insane asylums to try to get a few new ones. It’s rather nice to be going to make a new sort of thing.”
Voice Work Under Maurel
A couple of years ago, Lillian Gish had been thinking of doing stage work and had had some excellent voice training under the tutelage of Victor Maurel, now dead, who lived in New York at the time Miss Gish knew him.
Maurel was an opera singer, so important in his day that the prologue for “Pagliacci,” by Leoncavallo, was written especially for him to sing to induce him to play the role in its original presentation. He had argued that the part was too light in tone and suggested the prologue to give it weight.
Maurel was a well known artist in his later years and it was as such that Miss Gish went to him to get lessons in his hobby. He only asked as pay that she pose for him. Then he became interested in her dramatic work and daily he took scenes from the then current “Way Down East” of Miss Gish and tried to gain the same emotional effect in an empty room with her voice that she had gotten on the screen with her acting.
Thus, while Miss Gish has never had a voice test, she feels not unprepared for her talking work in “The Swan.” The role is a radical departure from the fluttery parts that first brought her to popularity with D.W. Griffith as her director.
While Miss Gish keeps her long hair, she has been as radical as Mary Pickford in changing her parts for films, for in “The Swan” she plays a modern lightly sophisticated role. In the cast will be Conrad Nagel, Rod LaRocque and Marie Dressler.
The Swan aka “One Romantic Night” – Photo Gallery
Chicago Tribune – Saturday 17, May, 1969 – Page 111
Book World to Take Look at ‘Lillian Gish’
“Lillian Gish is an artist for art’s sake, and she has preserved for us a precious chunk of one of her own medium’s most magnificent moments in time,” says Liz Smith in her Sunday Book review of “Lillian Gish – The Movies, Mr. Griffith and Me.”
Miss Gish’s book is less a story about herself than about a motion picture innovator, David Wark Griffith, whom she presents to the reader “warts and all.”
Picture Play Magazine – November 1926 Vol. XXV No. 3
The Screen in Review
By Norbert Lusk
Salaam (The Scarlet Letter)
Lillian Gish’s performance in “The Scarlet Letter” recaptures all the praise ever bestowed on her, and by the same token should erase all memory of the shortcomings charged against her. For her Hester Prynne is shimmering perfection, and is completely her own. The scenario of “The Scarlet Letter” is not wholly, however, the story of Hawthorne’s novel, though the liberties taken with it could scarcely offend the most captious. As you see this beautiful picture on the screen it occurs to you that there was no need to have followed the letter of the book at all. What has come from it is fine and true.
The spirit of Puritan days has been preserved with reverence and, at times, humor, while Frances Marion’s story is a model of screen technique and skillful compromise with the censors. Behind the story of the ill-starred lovers is a sharply etched study of the habits, customs, and psychology of our forefathers, yet it is never merely a presentation of detail but takes its proper place in unfolding the story of the seamstress who loved the Reverend Dimmesdale and who sacrificed herself that the towns people might never lose their ideal of his goodness. Lars Hanson, the Swedish actor who makes his first American appearance as Dimmesdale, might easily have stolen the picture from an actress of lesser gifts. His is a magnificent performance—poise, repression, and spirituality being blended into a character as dominating as it is appealing. The slow, gathering intentness of Hanson’s gaze is one of his most potent means of expressing thought and emotion. It is amazing on the screen.
But for that matter the entire cast with a single exception is of the highest order. Henry B. Walthall as Roger Prynne, Hester’s sinister husband, plays with repressed power, and Karl Dane and William H. Tooker offer lifelike characterizations.
The one exception to me was Joyce Coad as Pearl, Hester’s daughter. Here was a hearty, black-eyed child with a length of limb that nearly brought her up to Miss Gish’s shoulder, wholly unlike the frail flower my imagination created as the offspring of Hester and Dimmesdale. When Miss Gish carried her, the full force of a sacrifice to art came to me, and I hoped she wouldn’t break under the muscular strain.
Victor Seastrom’s direction is that of a master, and the Scandinavian’s sympathy with the traditions of our rock-bound New England is strongly manifested in every scene.