Lillian Gish, in isolation ever since she came to California – By Edwin and Elza Schallert (Picture Play Magazine – 1925)

Lillian Gish - Promo CCa 1923
Lillian Gish – Promo CCa 1923

Picture Play Magazine – Vol. XXIII November 1925 No.3

Hollywood High Lights

Surveying the adventures, both intimate and incandescent, of the film folk.

By Edwin and Elza Schallert

She has remained in virtual isolation ever since she came to California

HOLLYWOOD has a new mystery, and it may surprise the world to learn that it surrounds Lillian Gish, Where does she go ? what does she do ?—are the questions that everybody has been asking.

Lillian Gish - JOHN ENGSTEAD
Lillian Gish – JOHN ENGSTEAD

She has remained in virtual isolation ever since she came to California, and this is not in accord with the newer rules of the colony. These prescribe that one be gregarious—we believe that is the word—or else utterly unusual. Lillian spends much of her time, as is her wont, reading and studying, and seldom goes to social affairs, except to those at which Doug and Mary preside.

Lillian Gish and Malcolm
Lillian Gish and Malcolm – at Pickfair

Miss Gish has also upset other precedents. She rehearsed her production of “La Boheme” in its entirety in the accepted Griffith fashion. She was busy for weeks acting out her tragic role before the camera ground a single time. When there were no settings ready, she went through the action on a bare stage with a table and a chair for props, just as is done in the spoken drama.

Lillian Gish Close Up - Mimi in La Boheme
Lillian Gish Close Up – Mimi in La Boheme

Lillian has always worked on her pictures that way, but her method is practically unknown in the Western studios. It is the custom to rehearse each scene separately, and photograph it immediately. Some of the time the actors are lucky if they know what the story is about. More than a few have confessed to us that they never see the script on certain pictures in which they play, and that they have only a very hazy notion of the character they are supposed to interpret.

Lillian Gish in La boheme as Mimi, promotional photograph web

Miss Gish’s method, while it may be thought too expensive for universal adoption, is considered excellent, because it puts the player so thoroughly in the mood of the picture, before the filming itself begins, and doubtless goes far to explain the heights she has attained as an actress.

Lillian Gish ca 1920 LA X

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