Miss Lillian Gish, as a Reincarnation of Lizzie Borden, Appears in “Nine Pine Street.” (The New York Times – April 28, 1933)

Miss Lillian Gish, as a Reincarnation of Lizzie Borden, Appears in “Nine Pine Street.”

L.N.

The New York Times – April 28, 1933

THE PLAY

NINE PINE STREET, an adaptation in three acts and an epilogue, by John Colton and Carlton Miles, from an original play by William Miles and Donald Blackwell. Settings and costumes prepared by Robert Edmond Jones: staged by A. H. Van Buren: produced by Margaret Hewes. At the Longacre Theatre.

  • Clara. Holden ………………….. Helen Cloire
  • Annie ………………………….. Barna Ostertag
  • Mrs. Holden …………………….  Janet Young
  • Mrs. Powell …………………… Eleanor Hicks
  • Edward Holden ………….. Robert Harrison
  • Effie Holden ………………………. Lillian Gish
  • Warren Pitt ……………… Raymond Hackett
  • Mrs. Carrie Riggs ………….. Roberta Beatty
  • Captain James Tate ….. John H. Morrissey
  • lrilss Littlefield …………. Catherine Proctor
  • Miss Roberts ……… Jessamine Newcombe
  • Dr. Pov.·eu ………………… William Ingersoll
  • Lieut. Middleton …………… James Hollicky
  • Rev. Appleton…………….. James P. Houston
  • ErnesUne ………………………. Andree Corday
  • Martin Lodge …………….. Clinton Sundberg

Miss Lillian Gish, who of late has been known in these parts more as the lady of the camelias, became last evening “a forget-me-not in the rain.” That was the phrase applied by one of those New York reporters to Effie Holden, after the trial in New Bedford. And at, the hour in which ”9 Pine Street” finally discharged its “first audience” to the street before the Longacre Theatre, that thought will do, even now. For most of what there is in the literate reincarnation of the Lizzie Borden case of hallowed memory is-well, Miss Gish.

Playbill Lillian Gish - Nine Pine Street 1933 NYC

Miss Borden was the lady of Massachusetts, and the decade that was mauve, who gave her mother forty whacks, and then her father forty-one. Out of her life, with the murders, the trial and the mystery, a series of authors have constructed ”9 Pine Street.” John Colton and Carlton Miles were those immediately responsible, and in the dim background of an earlier play were William Miles and Donald Blackwell. To sum up their collected work, the suggestion must remain that much of it is long, not a little is tedious, and some of it is woven nicely together. And then, of course, there are Miss Gish and a good cast to move it along.

Those blithe enthusiasts for the Gay Nineties’ most sacred murders would perhaps shudder at some of the liberties that have been taken with the career of Fall River’s notable. The hatchet of the jingles and the pamphlets has given way to the lowly flat-iron, and in an, epilogue the whole thing has been attached to what is called ”the New England conscience.” That might have been one explanation for Miss Borden’s shutting herself up in her home after her acquittal, but it did “9 Pine Street” no good as a play.

1930 promo - Nine Pine Street
Nine Pine Street

But to return once more to Miss Gish. She gives a fine performance in all its varied details, and they are many, ranging as they do from love to murder. She injects into the whole of the play a feeling of sincerity, and those parts of it that seem most real are due to her. And there are others to help-Raymond Hackett, in the part of Warren Pitt; Roberta Beatty as Mrs. Carrie Riggs, who marries Edward Holden and so gets the forty whacks; William Ingersoll as Dr. Powell. Also some more.

The difficulties into which „9 Pine Street” squirms at times are due, perhaps, to the authors’ effort to capture the period, and the opinions, and the thoughts and the manners thereof. They devote most of the first act to that, and it grows tedious. The Borden case-on which the play has so admittedly been based-is too fresh, even now, to require a further setting. The second act is splendid, and the third is in part very good. The epilogue appears to be only an editorial comment, and mostly bathetic. On the whole there must remain the feeling that “9 Pine Street” is not quite the same class with its model of Fall River.  (L. N.)

Nine Pine Street NY Times April 22 1933
Nine Pine Street NY Times April 22 1933

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