Lillian Gish Reappearing as Molnar’s ‘Swan’ – By Mae Tinee (Chicago Tribune – 1930)

  • Chicago Tribune – Saturday May 17, 1930 – Page 11
  • Lillian Gish Reappearing as Molnar’s ‘Swan’
  • Play Loses Something as an Altalker


  • Produced by United Artists
  • Directed by Paul L. Stein
  • Presented at United Artists’ theater
One Romantic Night – The Swan

The Cast:

  • Alexandra …………………… Lillian Gish
  • Prince Albert ……….…. Rod La Rocque
  • Dr. Nicholas Haller ….. Conrad Nagel
  • Princess Beatrice …… Marie Dressler
  • Father Benedict ……….… O.P. Heggie
  • Count Lutzen ……….……. Albert Conti
  • Col. Wunderlich ……… Edgar Norton
  • Symphrosa …………..…. Billie Bennett
  • George ………………. Philippe De Lacy
  • Arsene ……………………….. Byron Sage
  • Mitzi ………………….. Barbara Leonard

By Mae Tinee

One Romantic Night – The Swan

The little lady who silently became famous in days when D.W. Griffith was king (of directors), comes to her first talker a different Lillian Gish. As Alexandra in “One Romantic Night,” adaptation of the Molnar play “The Swan,” she has nary a hop, skip or wiggle to bless herself with. That pleases you. BUT neither does anybody beat her, scare her out of her wits, nor starve her – and that is not so good, for it is in the depiction of stark, stare, gibbering terror that Miss Gish is at her best. Let all the world forsake her and she becomes an actress to reckon with. Minus the hops, skips, and wiggles, and the big, mean men, she appears rather at sea. She manages her entrances and exits nicely because she’s been brought up that way, but to me her performance was utterly futile. Her voice? Pleasant.

Lillian Gish and O.P. Heggie – One Romantic Night – The Swan

With the exception of O.P. Heggie as Father Benedict, Albert Conti as Count Lutzen, and Philippe De Lacy and Byron Sage, playing small brothers of the heroine, the picture has not been happily cast.

One Romantic Night – The Swan

Rod La Rocque is princely as to uniform , but his manner and delivery are reminiscent of a soda jerker.

One Romantic Night – The Swan

Marie Dressler as mother of “The Swan” has a hard time keeping her dignity and sometimes doesn’t. You feel she is keenly missing Polly Moran and that the latter may pop out at any moment from behind a noble portiere and hit her with an umbrella.

Conrad Nagel and Lillian Gisn in “One Romantic Night”

Conrad Nagel as the tutor is a fair and manly flower and that is all.

Thus cast and lacking inspired direction, the delicate point of the original satire is dulled, and beauty of scenery and settings, excellence of photography, and lines that know their way about cannot give to “One Romantic Night” what has been taken away from “The Swan.”

The action occurs in the long, long ago when the parents of young princess and princesses mapped out their marriages for them. So here you see and elderly princess endeavoring to keep the family going by marrying her fair daughter Alexandra, fondly called “The Swan” by her late father, to the heir of a throne.

Lillian Gish – Promotional photo for “The Swan”

The little princess is willing; the prince isn’t till Alexandra, at her mamma’s behest, is coy with her brothers’ tutor, who worships her. Then – well, the Viennese Molnar knew so well how to deal with this situation!

Personally I couldn’t get at all heat up about “One Romantic Night.” And the title on a Gish number isn’t going to fool the sidewalk crowds, for they know their Lillian.

One Romantic Night – United Artists

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