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.
Actress Lillian Gish … wants a return to good taste
BOB THOMAS BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) “As an American, I am against censorship of any kind,” remarked Lillian Gish, one of the treat stars of the silent screen. She added wistfully, “But I do wish we could do something about taste.” Miss Gish, the fragile beauty of “Birth of a Nation,” “Broken Blossoms” and a host of other silent classics, was paying a return visit to the Hollywood she first saw exactly 60 years ago. She reminisced about the past, particularly her prideful association with D. W. Griffith, but she also talked about present day films. “Ugliness disturbs me,” she commented, “and much of what is shown on the screen is ugly. Not only in exposure of the human body. I also mean the ugliness of violence. To me, violence is just as offensive as nudity. “Although I do not approve of censorship, I wish there were some way to impose taste on the people who make films. It’s not that I mind the portrayal of sex in movies, but sex should be beautiful, an expression of human love. But too often it is made to seem ugly.” A youthful 77, Miss Gish is in the middle of a tour of 30 cities in seven weeks to call attention to her new book, “Dorothy and Lillian Gish,” a S20 family album of the rich careers of the two sisters. She added a historical perspective on the film world’s flirtation with obscenity: “You know, I helped the Italian film industry get started. I went to Rome after the first World War and made the first American film there, ‘The White Sister.’ There was only one broken-down studio in Rome, and we rebuilt it. Then I went to Florence and made another movie, Romola.
“I spent two years in Italy, and I had time to learn all about their art. The Italians in the Renaissance went through what our film makers seem to be going through today. Nudity had not been seen before, and at first they exploited it. But then they learned to portray the human body with beauty. “I say to today’s movie makers: Do what you will but do it beautifully.” Lillian Gish conveyed an air of fragility on the screen, but she is in reality the most resilient of ladies. She has proved that by crossing the country 11′ times in the last four years, lecturing to colleges and other audiences on “The Art of the Film.” “I’ve lectured in 41 states only nine to go,” she announced proudly. The barnstorming is a throwback to her childhood, when she and Dorothy toured the country in melodramas. The Gishes made their movie debuts in 1912 in “An Unseen Enemy,” starring a stage chum they had known as Gladys Smith now she calls herself Mary Pickford. The director was D. W. Griffith. It was the start of Lillian’s long, distinguished association with the greatest of the silent film makers. She recalled her arrival in California in 1913: “There was nothing but citrus groves, all the way from San Bernardino. I remember passing a little Santa Fe station named Gish; I never saw it again or learned why it was so named. Our first studio was in a car barn on Pico Boulevard, and they put rugs over the tracks when we were filming. We worked only in the daytime, of course, because we couldn’t shoot when the light failed.” She recalled Hollywood as “a village full of churches and a white hotel with a verandah where old ladies in California for the winter sat in rocking chairs.” Throughout her career, Miss Gish only lived here when she was working. Her home was, and still is, New York “an awful, dirty, noisy, filthy city, but still the most exciting place in the world.” She recently ended a run in a play there, “Uncle Vanya,” directed by Mike Nichols and starring George C. Scott and Julie Christie. After touring the United States and England for her book, she may do the film version. After that? “I don’t know. Things just happen to me. I never plan.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
San Bernardino Sun, Volume 110, Number 352, 18 December 1983
She Brought Her Own Shoes
Lillian Gish has a problem. “A lot of people I know send me scripts,” she said “It’s difficult to say no to a friend. It’s hard to say I’m not suited for it, or it doesn’t appeal to me.” So it was with some trepidation that the legendary film star opened the script to Hobson’s Choice, which had been sent to her by her good friend, Gilbert Cates. He had produced Never Sang for My Father, in which Miss Gish starred on Broadway in 1968. Now he was directing Hobson’s Choice. But as she read the script, her fears vanished. “It’s the best script I’ve seen in two years,” she enthused. “That includes plays, feature films, anything. I get scripts by dozens. I wouldn’t be caught dead in any of them. They’re awful. But this was a story with a beginning, a middle and end, I like it.” In fact, she liked it enough to say yes to her friend Gil Cates.
Now Lillian Gish can be seen in one of her rare television roles, in Hobson’s Choice, new motion picture-for-television, airing on The CBS Wednesday Night Movies at 9PM. When she traveled to New Orleans for her special guest star role as a wealthy; satisfied patron of a local shoe store, Miss Gish brought along part of her costume: a pair of black suede shoes. “The shoes are very important to my character,” she explained. “They need to be right. I took along a pair of shoes I’d bought in Florence, Italy, in the early 1920s. I’ve never seen a shoe like it in this country. Here we are, sixty years later, and I still wear these shoes regularly.” According to director Gilbert Cates, it’s typical that this venerable actress would pay special attention to the one part of her wardrobe that is central to her character. “The really remarkable thing about Lillian Gish,” the director said, “is her ability to go straight to the intent of any scene. Some actors can deliver a scene letter perfect and not know what it’s about. With Lillian Gish, it’s not even important whether the words are perfect or not. Everything she says has the right color, the right flavor, the right intent.” “But you see,” the actress explained, “that’s because of my years in silent films with D. W. Griffith. He would only give us the plot. Then it was up to us to find the character. As we would rehearse the story, we’d improvise our dialogue. The cutter would take down what we said, and our words often became the subtitles, since they were borne out in the action.”
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.”
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.
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.”
Los Angeles Herald, Volume XLII, Number 282, 25 September 1916
Diana of the Follies
With Lillian Gish as the Vivacious Star
A dramatic right-about-face, that has tested Miss Lillian Gish’s gifts as an actress to the utmost. The little star, who has been sweet, submissive and “sobby’’ so often, has suddenly become a dashing chorus girl in this, her newest and most startling vehicle. Of course Diana does not remain a chorus girl. That is where she is found when the story opens. A great many things happen in a surprising way, when she becomes the wife of a wealthy young man. The most elaborate production yet made for the Triangle program.
As the Vivacious Star …
Interesting to women are the marvelous gowns, 67 in number, which are worn by the women in the cast. Nineteen are worn by Miss Gish herself, which makes the play a wonderful fashion show as well as a dramatic entertainment. The Jewels worn by Lillian Gish were loaned by a jeweler of Los Angeles. She adorns herself with a pearl necklace worth $30,000.00, a coronet worth $20,000.00, rings worth $7,000.00 : and bracelet worth $3,000.00. in addition to her own jewelry valued at $l5, 000. The total is $75,000.
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