REMODELING HER HUSBAND Paramount-Artcraft, 1920) Selected Film Criticism

Lillian Gish (film director) 2 - Remodeling Her Husband
Lillian Gish (film director) 2 – Remodeling Her Husband

REMODELING HER HUSBAND

(Paramount-Artcraft, 1920)

  • Burns Mantle in Photoplay, Vol. 18, No. 4 (September 1920), page 106.
  • Laurence Reid in Motion Picture News, Vol. 21, No. 26 (June 19, 1920), page 5011.

This is a woman’s picture. A woman wrote it, a woman stars in it, a woman was its director. And women will enjoy it most. It does an unusual and daring thing; it presents the feminine point of view in plot, in captions, in sets and acting. Our worthy contemporaries of the various film trade journals took a good crack at it. They have to take a good crack at something. But at the Rialto in New York, where this review was accomplished, the audience just sat back and howled–and there were men there, too. Lillian Gish has gone back to acting, but we’d like to tell her that she is almost as good a directress as she is an actress–and that’s going some. Little things count in this picture; details are not overlooked. Dorothy Gish is just–Dorothy Gish, which is enough for most people. There is no-one like her, and when she gets good stories she should lead her class. James Rennie, recruited from the legitimate, is a gratifying leading man.

–Burns Mantle in Photoplay, Vol. 18, No. 4 (September 1920), page 106.

*****

Only the presence of Dorothy Gish, with her undeniable charm and inimitable comedy, saves this piece from becoming a tiresome entertainment. We can think of no other actress who can endow the tried and true role of the young bride, whose object is to tame her husband, with so much color and personality. Whatever appeal this picture has is found in her performance, although it must be said that her leading man, James Rennie, a newcomer to the screen, gives a distinctive bit of acting. He catches the spirit of the part with true comedy insight–never for a moment losing his balance and overstepping the mark.

Lillian Gish (film director) 3 - Remodeling Her Husband
Lillian Gish (film director) 3 – Remodeling Her Husband

The idea is indexed in the pigeon-holes of producers’ desks, who cater to farce-comedies, as Number 1. It is lugged out repeatedly, although there is never any attempt to refurbish it–or dress it up with novel headlights. In this case Remodeling Her Husband runs true to form. The pattern is complete in every particular.

Dorothy Gish - Remodeling Her Husband
Dorothy Gish – Remodeling Her Husband

You have the young bride who simply adores her husband and is happy to settle down in marital bliss; you have the equally young groom who is determined to indulge in just one more fling. His flirtatious disposition carries out the conflict–which is mostly a series of scenes capitalizing his ability to alibi himself and his spouse’s efforts to bring him to account.

Dorothy Gish and James Rennie (Dorothy and Lillian Gish by Lillian Gish) - Remodeling Her Husband
Dorothy Gish and James Rennie (Dorothy and Lillian Gish by Lillian Gish) – Remodeling Her Husband

There is a goodly amount of comedy business established in this mild but pleasant action due to the star’s sure-fire touches, coupled with appropriate dialogue. Finally she is provoked into leaving him when he simply can’t make his eyes behave. He is a trifle ashamed of her because she hasn’t the dash and style of the w. k. flapper. Well, the upshot of it is she goes into business and after being separated hubby realizes what a wonderful girl she is and becomes repentant. And thus to the final clinch. There are moments when the action drags, but for the most part Dorothy Gish is there sending out shafts of her quaint humor. The idea is hardly big enough for feature expression, but the continuity is so even, the direction so spontaneous, the acting so spirited, that the lapses aren’t unduly noticeable. Lillian Gish shows her versatility as the director and her ability to make the most of the story is a creditable achievement.

–Laurence Reid in Motion Picture News, Vol. 21, No. 26 (June 19, 1920), page 5011.

Dorothy Gish and James Rennie - Remodeling Her Husband
Dorothy Gish and James Rennie – Remodeling Her Husband

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