Remodeling her husband – 1920

  • 41395120_1872967589453196_4452124680551137280_nDirectors: Lillian Gish, D.W. Griffith (uncredited)
  • Writers: Harry Carr, Lillian Gish (scenario) (as Dorothy Elizabeth Carter)
  • Writing Credits (in alphabetical order)
  • Harry Carr Lillian Gish … (scenario) (as Dorothy Elizabeth Carter)
  • Lillian Gish … (story) (as Dorothy Elizabeth Carter)
  • Dorothy Parker … (titles)

“How would you like to direct Dorothy’s next picture? … You know as much as I do about making pictures” – D.W.Griffith “I had been allowed a 50.000 $ budget, but my money was running low. I knew it was imperative to complete the picture in order to save on the salaries extended over the holidays.


Our last scenes were scheduled for two days before Christmas. They were to be taken atop a Fifth Avenue bus, as Dorothy looked down on a passing car that carried her husband and another woman. Then I discovered that in order to make films on the streets of New York, a permit was required. It would take several days to obtain a permit. Time was short. The alternative was running the risk of going to jail. “Will you take the chance?” – I asked my company. “Yes!” – they agreed. We went ahead. As we turned onto Fifth Avenue – seventh Street, heading south, a policeman looked at me standing by the camera, raised the hand to stop me – and looked again. Suddenly he put two fingers to his mouth, pushed up the corners in the smile I had made familiar in Broken Blossoms, and pointed to me as if to say, “am I right?” “Yes,” – I nodded. He really smiled then and nodded back, “Go Ahead.” (Miss Lillian Gish – The Movies, Mr.Griffith and Me)

  • Dorothy Gish … Janie Wakefield
  • James Rennie – Jack Valentine
  • Marie Burke – Mrs. Wakefield
  • Downing Clarke – Mr. Wakefield
  • Frank Kingdon – Mr. Valentine
  • Leslie Marsh – Littlest Girl in Wedding Scene
  • Mildred Marsh – One of the Bridemaids

Back to Lillian Gish Home page




“That night we knew we were done, and everybody was so happy, and so sorry, weeping on one another’s shoulders. By the time Mr. Griffith came home, our picture was nearly all cut, and ready. When he saw and approved of it, I was very happy, but it had nearly killed me.”

Lillian decided that directing was not for women. “Remodeling a Husband,” as the picture was finally called, turned out a financial success. She had spent fifty-eight Director Lillian 155 thousand dollars, and twenty-eight days, making it, but it netted a profit of a hundred and sixty thousand dollars, and doubled Dorothy’s picture value. She was proud of all that, but did not care to try it again. A little while ago David Wark Griffith said:

“Lillian directed Dorothy in the best picture Dorothy ever made. I knew she could do it, for whenever we were making a picture I realized that she knew as much about it as I did—gave me valuable ideas about lights, angles, color, and a hundred things. She had brains, and used them, and she did not lose her head. You see what confidence I had in her to go off to Florida and leave her to direct a picture in a new studio, with all the problems of lights and sets, and a thousand other things a director has to contend with. I know how her lights failed on her, and all the complications that came up, and how she handled them, and how, out of it, she got that fine picture. One of the best. She didn’t tell me, but Carr did.” (Life and Lillian Gish – 1932)

Back to Lillian Gish Home page