Film Facts “The Most Beautiful Blond” – 1914
The most striking thing about the beautiful child actress, Lillian Gish, who at age of 6, made our dream of “Little Eva” come true, was a profusion of long, shining hair, like golden silk. Today at 18, David Belasco calls her “the most beautiful blond in the world.”
Miss Gish is slender, with an exquisitely graceful figure, almost too girlish to affect seriously the perplexing draperies now in vogue for women. Tunics and flowing robes make her look like a young goddess. With her innocent face, large, heavily fringed blue eyes and full mouth, slightly pouting like a child’s, one almost smiles to see her so tall and stately in the classic modes of the day. But it would be difficult to imagine anything more charming than this very inconsistency – this elusive contradiction between youth an womanhood.
Her career on the legitimate stage was brilliant. No child who ever starred in venerable Uncle Tom’s Cabin won more love and devotion the country over. She acted in The Child Wife and in Convict Stripes at about the same time that Vivian Prescott and Mary Pickford were playing the same roles. She also appeared with Miss Pickford in The Good Little Devil.
Almost the only respite from stage life she has had came in the months when she attended Ursuline Convent in St. Louis, where her education was completed.
D.W. Griffith, whose requirements for a photoplay star are beauty, youth and naturalness, discovered Miss Gish for the world of motion pictures. He realized that she had the gifts, and the capacity for work, to become a flawless screen artist. Her possibilities fascinated the creative mind of the great director, who longed to see what she could develop under his tutelage.
Miss Gish was first engaged with the Biograph, studying and training with Mr. Griffith companies; and in an amazingly brief time she was carrying important roles. When her eminent director went to the Mutual in the fall of 1913, she accompanied him. In the early winter she played several ingénue parts with much distinction and charm.
Her ability however, was put fully to the test in the Griffith production The Battle of The Sexes, written for the Reliance Company by Dr. Daniel Carson Goodman, author of much-disputed “Hagar Revelly.” In this play Miss Gish was cast for the most dramatic role. She first appears as a very young and unsophisticated girl, whose life has been all happiness, but who is not without latent fire and purpose.
The development of the plot calls for the complete transformation of the blithe young creature, who, in the opening act, so joyously celebrates hers mother birthday with the rest of the family, into a desperate heroine, obsessed with one awful thought of a life for a life.
In the part of “Jane Andrews” Miss Gish accomplishes and exceedingly difficult piece of acting. She became tragic, even murderous, while still keeping the pathetic irresponsibility of extreme youth and inexperience, strained to an insane pitch by happenings over which she had no control.