Los Angeles Herald, Volume XLIV, Number 51, 31 December 1918
GRIFFITH’S NEXT BIG FILM IS ‘BABYLON’
With lines as long as a showman’s dream pounding against the box office where “The Greatest Thing in Life” is showing, D. W. Griffith announces he is going to take off the big holiday hit Saturday night and replace it with the story of “Babylon” taken from his stupendous “Intolerance.” So many requests received from every section of the country at the time Mr. Griffith’s spectacle was first shown, have finally led him to release the story of Babylon as a separate and distinct picture. In the former version there were about three reels dealing with the destruction of the city. The new play, however, contains the complete historical romance of the mountain girl who would have saved her city had her king been sufficiently sober to listen to her warnings. Embellished with thousands of feet of photographs taken in the actual valley of the Euphrates, the new production contains but a passing resemblance to the story of “Intolerance.’’ The massive spectacle of the destruction of the city is there with several hundred scenes added, bringing out the vanished glory of that ancient time in a way that was not attempted in the “Intolerance’’ version. Constance Talmadge is seen as the mountain girl, supported by a cast that can never again be gathered. It includes Tully Marshall, Elmer Clifton. Mildred Harris Chaplin, George Siegmann, Seena Owen, Elmo Lincoln and many others who have since earned their right to stardom. The presentation of “The Fall of Babylon” will begin with the matinee performance at Clune’s Auditorium next Monday.
“Dinner at Eight” with its superlative all-star cast, and “His Double Life,” a provoking comedy featuring Lillian Gish and Roland Young, make up the splendid double-feature program opening today at the Fox West Coast theater. The cast of “Dinner at Eight” practically tells the story, and when this array of excellent actors is combined with a plot both clever, amusing and dramatic, there is nothing more to ask for. The beloved Marie Dressler is there with John Barrymore, Wallace Beery, Jean Harlow, Lionel Barrymore, Lee Tracy, Edmund Lowe, Billie Burke, Madge Evans, Jean Hersholt, Karen Morley, Louise Closser Hale, Phillips Holmes, May Robson and half a dozen more. “His Double Life” will provide plenty of laughs as well as the first glimpse of Lillian Gish on the screen in many a month. Miss Gish, who once held the brightest of spotlights in films, has devoted most of her time in recent years to the legitimate stage.
San Bernardino Sun, Volume 48, Number 90, 13 June 1918
Last Showing at Opera House for “Hearts of the World”
Robert Harron, the Boy, and Lillian Gish, the Girl, have for this picture done the best work of their respective careers. As the daredevil American of the French troops, Robert Harron wins favor by his unostentatious bravery and Yankee pluck. He is the central figure in numerous hand-to-hand fights that for ferociousness are different from screen encounters heretofore shown.
There has been a very noticeably change in Miss Gish’s style of acting, and this is by far the greatest work she has ever done. Dorothy Gish, as the little disturber, a strolling singer, was applauded- almost every time she appeared on the screen, each time with more enthusiasm.
Dorothy Gish has been popular heretofore, but this play will make for her a niche in stardom few actresses have been successful in attaining. As the boy’s companions of the French company, Robert Anderson and George Fawcett were easily the other favorites of the male contingent of the big cast, while little Ben Alexander, age about four years, steps forth as an infant prodigy.
Those who saw “The Clansman” remember George Siegmann’s “Lynch,” and will find him giving a characterization equally as remarkable. His role is that of Von Strohm, the German secret service agent. Other former Griffith players seen to advantage in this most recent success are Josephine Crowell, Kate Bruce and Anna May Walthall.
San Bernardino Sun, Volume 48, Number 144, 23 January 1921
D.W. Griffith’s “Way Down East”
Opera House, Commencing Tomorrow Night at 8 o’clock
D. W. Griffith’s cinema masterpiece, “Way Down East,” commences a five nights and four matinees engagement tomorrow night, January 24. The evenings commence at 8 o’clock and the matinees at 2 o’clock. Note display announcement for prices.
LillianGish – In the leading role in D. W. Griffith’s “Way Down East,” has achieved a success that at once places her in the foremost rank of American actresses. Richard Barthelmess, Mrs. Morgan Belmont, a social leader; Creighton Hale, Kate Bruce, Vivia Ogden, Mary Hay, Burr Mcintosh, George Neville, Edgar Nelson, Lowell Sherman, Porter Strong, Florence Short and others are seen. As usual with Griffith production, there in a thematic score played by a large orchestra, and the music is a succession of delightful melodies and impressive compositions, accentuating each situation.
Eagle Rock Sentinel, Volume XXII, Number 50, 6 June 1930
Voice of Lillian Gish Registered in ‘One Romantic Night’
No other player In the history of the screen has been associated with more great pictures than Lillian Gish, the famous star whose voice is heard for the first time at the Fox Alexander theater in United Artists “One Romantic Night.” Wherever unprejudiced commentators gather to discuss the artistic and commercial merit of “The Birth of a Nation,” “Intolerance,” “Hearts of the World,” “Orphans of the Storm.” “Broken Blossoms” and ‘‘Way Down East” invariably top the list. As Alexandra, in United Artists’ dialogue screen adaption of the noted Ferenc Molnar play, ‘The Swan,” Miss Gish believes she has the greatest role of her career. “One Romantic Night” is the star’s first all talking picture. In the notable cast with her are Rod La Rocque, Conrad Nagel, Marie Dressler and O. P. Heggie. This all star supporting cast is further augmented by Albeit Conti, Edgar Norton, Billie Bennett, Phillip De Lacy and Byron Sage. Paul Stein directed the production. The short subjects include a comedy, a novelty and the latest Fox Movietone News.
Never had she looked more lovely. No longer a victim of tyranny, brutality and betrayal, but a Princess, as rare as any out of a fairy tale, with a palace and a rose garden and suitors, with a lilting, perfectly-timed voice, Lillian appeared to have come into her own.
Director: Paul L. Stein
Writers: Maxwell Anderson (adaptation) Melville Baker (adaptation) 3 May 1930 (USA)
By Lillian Gish & Ann Pinchot (Englewood Cliffs, NJ Prentice-Hall, 1969)
Colorful, lively, and moving memoir of a giant of the early screen, actress Lillian Gish. Her story is inseparable with the history of the movies, from the early days, when the pioneers of the industry worked long hours through hardship and cold, public criticism through the horrors of war, and the proverty of the Depression. She knew them all: Mary Pickford, Greta Garbo, Rudolh Valentino, Noel Coward, Erich Von Stroheim, and many more. She talks about the director of many of her films, D.W. Griffith (David Wark Griffith), whose consuming passion creating new ways to tell stories on celluloid. A long-time member of his company, she separates the man from the legend. She exposes the very personal, human side of this early Hollywood legend, warts and all.
In vivid anecdotes that are funny, heartbreaking, and remarkably evocative of that fascinating period, stage and screen star Lillian Gish tells the story of her childhood years in the American theater at the beginning of the 1900s.
From the perspective of nearly a century. Miss Gish recalls the kindness of her fellow actors during a Christmas spent on a train; hilarious—and sometimes frightening—slipups from many performances; the pain of separation from her mother and younger sister; and the thrill of being a professional actor.
For every child who has ever wondered about the glamour and excitement of being on the stage, about how and why a person becomes an actor, this remarkable childhood reminiscence offers a unique and lively insight, as well as a memorable piece of Americana.
LILLIAN GISH is truly a legend in her own time. As a young girl in the early days of movies, she became a star, the leading lady of such D.W. Griffith classics as Birth of a Nation (the first feature-length film), and her career continued successfully into the talkies. On Broadway, in the 1930s, she played Ophelia to John Gielgud’s Hamlet. Most recently she appeared in Sweet Liberty with Alan Alda. To date, she has appeared in over a hundred films and fifty plays. In 1984, Miss Gish received the American Film Institute’s coveted Lifetime Service Award for her extraordinary contributions to the industry. But before all this, in 1902, when she was six, she began her distinguished acting career on a small, improvised stage in Risingsun, Ohio… where this charming, bittersweet childhood reminiscence of the actor’s life begins.
I am Lillian Diana Gish. I was named that by my parents. But sometimes I was called Florence Niles, Baby Alice, Baby Ann, and just plain Herself, for reasons that I will explain.
My sister Dorothy (who was nicknamed Doatsie) and I were lucky. We never lived in just one place or went to school like other children we knew. From the time I was six and Doatsie just four and a half, we were child actors. We belonged to traveling theatrical companies that performed plays in small towns and big cities all along the East Coast and in the Middle West.
There was no television, movies, or even radio at the beginning of this century when we began working. All over America, going to the theater was a popular evening entertainment. Most of the plays that Doatsie and I acted in were called melodramas.
I began life in Springfield, Ohio. I was born in my Grandmother Gish’s house in October 1896.
The nicest thing I remember about Mother and Father together is seeing them both standing at the foot of my bed one night, when I was still quite small. Mother was wearing a red satin dress with a long train and Father had on a dark, elegant suit. They must have been going to a party. They both looked so beautiful that the image has always stayed in my mind, clear as a photograph in a family album. Surely they were happy then.
When my sister Dorothy was just a baby. Father would sometimes take me for walks. I was not yet three, and we would stop to rest and have some refreshment. We never stopped at an ice-cream parlor, always at a saloon. I remember the wood walls, the sawdust on the floor and the strange bitter smell. Father loved to show me off. While he stood drinking beer, he would lift me up onto the bar, where I sat and ate my fill of the free lunch.
We looked on the movies only as a way of feeding and sheltering ourselves until we got back on the stage.
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