Lillian Gish and Max Reinhardt – A Miracle That Failed

Excerpts from Picture Play Magazine March – July, 1929

Lillian In New Phase.

Lillian Gish’s career, suspended for more than a year, is to be resumed. She will be directed by Max Reinhardt, the famous European stage producer, in a picture called “The Miracle Girl.” Lillian has just returned to Hollywood after a many months’ absence. She has sojourned part of the time in New York, which she likes, and the rest in Europe, which she loves even more. As regards Hollywood, it does not occupy the leading spot in Lillian’s affections, but she confesses that it is, after all, about the best place to make pictures. And she has tried various other localities during her experience.

Lillian begins virtually a new stage of her professional life with the undertaking of “The Miracle Girl.” It will be her first film under her contract with United Artists. After many years, she will once again work on the same lot as Mary Pickford, as they did in the old Griffith Biograph days.

Max Reinhardt mit Lillian Gish im Hotel Esplanade in Berlin 1928
Max Reinhardt mit Lillian Gish im Hotel Esplanade in Berlin 1928

To … talk or not to talk?

Lillian Gish must feel a little like an animal trainer who returns from a trip to find that the gentle little lion that she reared as a cub has become a raging beast.” “But what is she going to do about it ?”

“I don’t know exactly. But you can count on it that she and Max Reinhardt working together won’t turn out one of these strange hybrids that are neither good stage technique, nor good movie. Lillian’s voice should be very interesting. She studied three or four years ago for the stage, and even before she went for vocal training, her voice had a soft, resonant quality that was touching.”

“Pictures change so fast,” I remarked, and even as I said it, I realized that we used to object strenuously, because they were always the same. Nevertheless, I am sorry the inventor of sound devices wasn’t strangled at birth. I long for the days of the good, old, silent drama, even though dialogue films have made it possible to film my pet murder stories.

Douglas Fairbanks, Max Reinhardt and Lillian Gish at train station - 1920s
Douglas Fairbanks, Max Reinhardt and Lillian Gish at train station – 1928

HOLLYWOOD simply can’t become highbrow.

Every time the film colony tries to soar to empyreal aesthetic heights, a constitutional ailment develops. Then some famous visitor’s feelings are hurt, and he goes home in a huff. The latest to take his departure in haste and disgust is Max Reinhardt, the famous German stage producer. Brought over here some six months ago to make a Lillian Gish starring picture, he never so much as shot a single scene.

Difficulties over story and contract, and uncertainty about talking pictures and other problems, reputedly came to the fore while he was preparing the production, and finally an agreement to disagree was reached between him and the studio executives. He sailed for Europe a few weeks ago. Reinhardt can console himself with the fact that others who came and saw, but did not wholly conquer, included at various times Maurice Maeterlinck, Sir Gilbert Parker, Michael Aden, William J. Locke, who just recently left, not to speak of numerous lights of the New York literary and show world. It would seem oftentimes that the picture realm likes to toy with great reputations, and that’s what occasionally gives Hollywood a name closely synonymous with Boobville.

Excerpts from Hollywood High Lights (Edwin and Elza Schallert), Over The Teacups, Picture Play Magazine March – July, 1929

The Movies Mr. Griffith and Me (03 1969) With Max Reinhardt in Salzburg Austria — with Lillian Gish.
Max Reinhardt mit Lillian Gish – Leopoldskron Salzburg 1928
Max Reinhardt, Lillian Gish and Douglas Fairbanks
Max Reinhardt, Lillian Gish and Douglas Fairbanks

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