La Tragique Lillian by the Sea (Picture Play Magazine – 1926)

Lillian Gish - Santa Monica - Vanity Fair June 1927
Lillian Gish – Santa Monica – Vanity Fair June 1927


Picture Play Magazine – June, 1926 Volume XXIV No. 4

Hollywood High Lights

Lillian by the Sea


Lillian Gish has succumbed to the lure of the seaside. When she first came to California, she stopped at the Beverly Hills Hotel, but now she has rented Mrs. Charlotte Pickford’s house at Santa Monica.

“I am doing all the pleasurable and recreational things that I have wanted to do all my life,” she told us not long ago. “I am sleeping out underneath the stars on a sleeping porch, going in swimming every morning, and am taking up horseback riding. I am going to ride along the beach, too, right at the edge of the surf, and splash through it if I want.”

Incidentally, she has had a touch of loneliness lately, because of the fact that her sister Dorothy, who came to the Coast for a brief visit, is now in Europe, to be gone a whole year. Mary and Doug, too, with whom Lillian, usually spends much of her time, have also left.

Lillian Gish 1924 with Mr. Gwyn
Lillian Gish 1924 with Mr. Gwyn


La Tragique Lillian.

Another picture that we have looked at lately is “La Boheme,” with Lillian Gish and Jack Gilbert. King Vidor, who made “The Big Parade,” was the director. It looks as though he will make nothing but the bigger type of feature from now on.

Lillian Gish and John Gilbert - La Boheme
Lillian Gish and John Gilbert – La Boheme

“La Boheme” we liked, because of the acting of Miss Gish, particularly in the death scene, and because of its remarkable pictorial beauty. There are many scenes in this film that are so like paintings that they are delightful. It is incidentally the kind of picture that necessitates the borrowing of an extra large handkerchief from dad—the kind of picture, in fact, that makes for a fine, weepy afternoon or evening, and that may be rendered magical through the further emotion stirred up by a musical accompaniment arranged, from the opera.

(LA BOHEME) de King Vidor 1926 USA avec John Gilbert et Lillian Gish retrouvaille, caleche, diligence, cocher, chevaux d'apres le roman de Henri Murger detail

It is not exactly the sort of film, however, that will appeal to the male contingent of the family, unless they happen to be of a very artistic frame of mind, and capable of appreciating beauty in the abstract. “La Boheme” cannot be said to possess sturdy entertainment values, but its high qualities of beauty make it a production well worth every fan’s time.


Gilbert’s portrayal is not one of his most striking, but he is, as always, a flashing personality, and some of his acting, as when during the celebration of his success he longs for the return of Mimi, is very effective. The story has been properly purified to pass the censors, but manages to follow with very fair loyalty the original opera. We meant to mention, in speaking of these two pictures, that George K. Arthur does a characterization of almost unrivaled sincerity as the celebrated modiste. Madame Lucy—yes, she’s a man—in “Irene,” and that Renee Adoree, in her very brief opportunity as Musetta in “La Boheme,” is truly fascinating. This girl has a great chance to be the one and only favorite in roles that are French-accented. Arthur, who was The Boy of the now historic, but not to be forgotten, five-thousand-dollar “Salvation Hunters.” is rapidlv coming to be one of the film’s most efficient young character players. He could have made a wretched burlesque of Madame Lucy in “Irene,” but he plays this role so much as if he believed in it that he does not run the least risk—and there was a danger of that—of giving offense to those who happen to be a little discriminating about the sort of types that they see in pictures.

La Boheme - Lillian Gish, Gino Corrado and John Gilbert
La Boheme – Lillian Gish, Gino Corrado and John Gilbert


The Bernhardt of the Screen.

I wish to say that I sat through—or rather wept through—”La Boheme,” and I call Lillian Gish’s interpretation of Mimi perfect ! And I think those critics who do not agree with me simply are not able to appreciate Miss Gish’s fragile beauty and pathos. I had not seen this great artist for ten years (since “The Birth of a Nation”) and it overawes me to think what heights of greatness she will have reached ten years from today. Yes, I fully believe Lillian Gish is to be “The Bernhardt of the Screen !” Boston, Massachusetts. A. L. S.

John Gilbert and Lillian Gish (Rodolphe and Mimi) The last scene of La Boheme
John Gilbert and Lillian Gish (Rodolphe and Mimi) The last scene of La Boheme

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