Bulletin of The Art Institute of Chicago – 1925 (Romola)

  • Bulletin of the Art Institute of Chicago 1925-11: Vol 19 Iss 8
  • BULLETIN OF THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO NOVEMBER NINETEEN TWENTY-FIVE VOLUME XIX Number 8

THIRTY-EIGHTH ANNUAL AMERICAN EXHIBITION

Thirty-eighth Annual Exhibition of American Paintings and Sculpture opens on October 29, to remain in the East Wing until December 13. This exhibition is always awaited and received with great interest, for it is index of the year’s achievements. Selected on a basis of individual excellence, it works as a group representative of the various tendencies and schools which determine the direction of American painting and sculpture. The present exhibition contains at least two works which will be hung in the permanent collections of the Art Institute, for there are shown for the first time a painting purchased for the museum by the Friends of American Art, William Glackens’ “Chez Mouquin,” and Nicholai Fechin’s portrait of Lillian Gish as Romola, purchased from the Goodman Fund. Mr Fechin, a Russian by birth, an American by adoption, will be remembered for his one-man show held in 1924, when he gave proof of a highly individual technique, linked with a national tradition. In the portrait of Lillian Gish, the Russian is subordinate to the individual, and we find a double feat, a painter’s appreciation of another artist’s interpretation of her. The pathos and grace which the actress brought to her part are retained, and this added an element lacking on the screen color. The lavender gown, heavy red books, and polychrome background are used for their full decorative possibilities. “Chez Mouquin” is an early work by William J. Glackens, definitely dated as to the decade it represents, and quite different in manner from the artist’s later more dashing style.

Romola – Nicolai Fechin 1925 – Painting Oil on canvas tacked over board, 125.1 x 114.9 cm. Private collection as of 2006.

“During that time, two sculptors, Dimitri Dirujinski and Boris Lorski, modeled busts of me. Nicolai Fechin did a portrait of me as Romola that was bought by the Chicago Art Institute. When I was in that city playing in Life With Father, it was hanging in the Goodman Theater. “ (Lillian Gish)

Nicolai Fechin and Alexandra Fechin with actress Lillian Gish and Erwin S. Barrie, director

Nicolai Fechin (1881 – 1955) also known as “The Tartar Painter”, was highly influential student of Russian master Ilya Repin. Fechin, along with John Singer Sargent, Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida, and Anders Zorn are the perhaps the most frequently cited influences on contemporary impressionists. But it is Fechin’s technique and approach that made his paintings stand out. Masterful with color and palette knife, Fechin used whatever he could, including saliva and his thumb, to achieve the effects he was seeking. Fechin would start with an abstract and bring it back to realism in select areas such as the face and hands, but his compositions, especially anything other than the center of interest, were generally abstract. Began paintings on plain, double weave Belgian linen, which was often attached to stretchers which he had made. He generally prepared his own canvases and seldom made preliminary sketches. His ground varied, not only from painting to painting, but upon a single canvas. In some areas he might use rabbit skin glue; in others, cottage cheese. The absorbency differences in the various sections of ground resulted in areas of high gloss and areas of matte finish in his completed painting. This was the effect he sought, and he therefore did not varnish his paintings.

Lillian Gish admiring Romola portrait by Nicolai Fechin cca 1925 (Oil on canvas painting) – French Press HiRes

*** Fechin painted Lillian Gish as Romola in 1925 (oil on canvas tacked over board) 49¼ x 45¼ in. (125.1 x 114.9 cm.). Estimate $150.000, portrait was finally sold for $464.000 and is part of a private collection since 2006.

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Mayor of NY with Connie Towers and Lillian Gish – backstage in the opening night of “Anya”

Mayor of NY with Connie Towers and Lillian Gish – backstage in the opening night of “Anya” (December 1965)

Anya star Connie Towers is pictured backstage with Lillian Gish and Mayor of the New York City John Lindsey. In private life, Connie is Mrs. Eugene McGrath who often visits Miami. Her husband’s mother. Mrs. Harry Scheibla, lives in Miami. The McGraths have two small children, a son and a daughter.

Photo Friedman Abeles 351W 54St. N.Y.C. 19 Judson 6-3260

Constance Towers, Lillian Gish and John Lindsey (Mayor of NY) – Photo Anya Dec 5 1965
Constance Towers, Lillian Gish and John Lindsey (Mayor of NY) – Anya Dec 5 1965

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The Quarterly Journal of the Library of Congress – 1980

The Quarterly Journal of the Library of Congress Summer-Fall 1980: Vol 37 Iss 3-4

Billy Bitzer and D.W. Griffith

Fortunately for film historians, films, reviews, written reminiscences, and production records from the D. W. Griffith years have survived. This period is recalled in Erik Barnouw’s article on Arthur Sintzenich (“Snitch”), who was one of Griffith’s cameramen from 1923 to 1926, in Jean Tucker’s oral history of the early filmmaker based upon the observations of Lillian Gish and others who worked with him on Intolerance, and in Paul Spehr’s production study of the early years of the Biograph Company. Jean Renoir, in My Life and My Films, wrote that films are an emotional, not an intellectual experience. Griffith also expressed this nonverbal universality of films in his 1924 article, “The Movies 100 Years from Now”: It will never be possible to synchronize the voice with the pictures. This is true because the very nature of films foregoes not only the necessity but the propriety of the spoken voice. Music—fine music—will always be the voice of the silent drama. . . . In the year 2024 each motion picture theater will have symphonic orchestras of greater proportions than we now dream of employed for moods to fit the sublime and the grand. In a way this prediction has come true.

Hollywood, the pioneers – Griffith and Bitzer 1912

We do have the finest orchestras performing for films, only not in the theater pit. But what would Griffith have thought of Walt Disney’s Peter Pan and multiplane cameras and Fantasia and Fantasound and the magic that Disney’s musicians, animators, and technicians produced. Jon Newsom recounts, in his article on music for animated films, how this “magic” was created. The same technology for synchronizing sight and sound which was so finely applied to animation was handled less imaginatively in a series of 1930s films starring opera singers. David Parker, in his article on singerfilms, proves that certain film genre can survive despite, or possibly because of, their ridiculous plots, miscasting, and faulty production techniques. Based on another 1924 prediction, one would suspect that Griffith would have approved of Peter Pan’s “Flight to Neverland” on screen and Neil Armstrong’s moon walk on television in spite of the presence of “the spoken voice”: One hundred years hence, the airplane passenger lines will operate motion-picture shows on regular schedule. … Almost every home of good taste will have its private projection room where miniatures, perhaps of the greater films will be shown to the family. I close with my favorite Griffith prediction, hoping it was not his most fantastic. In the year 2024 the most important single thing which the cinema will have helped in a large way to accomplish will be that of eliminating from the face of the civilized world all armed conflict.

D.W. Griffith and Billy Bitzer on location in Cuddebackville – NY, directing “The Squaw’s Love.”

Voices from the Silents

by Jean E. Tucker

The origins of the motion picture as an art form can be traced to the turn of the century. Since the late 1800s, motion pictures have drawn what they have needed from the other arts— music, literature, and the theater—and have attained an artistic maturity of their own in a relatively short period of time. The artistic attainment has been accompanied by a coincidental evolution of motion picture technology. The development of a historical record of the motion picture has not kept pace with the advancement of the art and technology, however. Indeed, the history of the motion picture, particularly silent film, was neglected until the mid- 1960s and the early 1970s. It is fortunate that film scholars are now beginning to pay attention to the historical development of the art and that more and more people who worked in silent pictures are writing memoirs and consenting to taped interviews, thus sharing their experiences and knowledge. As a consequence, the history of the silent movies is being more fully documented in the voices and words of living persons who were directly involved in devising, developing, and perfecting the acting and production techniques that have become the art of the motion picture. Oral history especially lends itself to the study of silent film. Taped interviews make it possible to record or reconstruct events which occurred during the silent film era of the motion picture. Interviews enable participants to tell their own particular story and include specific facts about the birth of an industry that might otherwise be lost. They can replace or supplement written documents and clarify differing views of the same event, revealing personality in ways which cannot be represented in written form. The quality of information revealed in interviews depends upon the analysis made of it. After comparing the information to other interviews and written sources, it can be elaborated, explained, and interpreted, so as to supplement and validate known information and create original documents.

D.W. Griffith directing “Intolerance”

D. W. Griffith’s Intolerance, a silent film produced in 1916 by the Wark Producing Company, has been particularly neglected by film historians and critics since its release. No definitive work on the film has been published. No one directly involved with the production of the film has written more than a chapter or two about it. And, until the time I began a search for persons associated with the film, no one had recorded a collection of taped conversations with individuals who took part in its production. The inspiration for this search came from Lillian Gish. I first met and talked briefly with her at the Library of Congress in 1969 at a presentation of her film-lecture Lillian Gish and the Movies; the Art of Film, 1900-1928. She made a lasting impression. She seemed so interested and enthusiastic about everyone and everything around her. Her devotion to silent film and D. W. Griffith and her desire to tell his story were clearly genuine. After a second meeting nearly a year later, I wanted to learn more about the woman who seemed to epitomize the silent screen. I quickly discovered she had been sorely neglected by biographers and other writers. I read all I could find, looked at existing films in the collections of the Library of Congress and the Museum of Modern Art, and eventually interviewed her. The Recorded Sound Section of the Library of Congress (now part of the Motion Picture, Broadcasting, and Recorded Sound Division) accepted for its collections a copy of the tape of my conversation with her and expressed an interest in the tapes of interviews that I might record with other film personalities. I discovered there were at least four living persons in addition to Lillian Gish who had been involved directly in the production of D. W. Griffith’s film Jntolerance and that they would be willing to talk with me—not only about the film but about the development of the motion picture, acting and directing techniques, their early careers in silent film, and their relationship with D. W. Griffith.

D.W. Griffith and G.W. Bitzer filming “Intolerance”

They were Karl Brown, cameraman; Miriam Cooper, actress; Joseph Henabery, actor, researcher, and director; and Anita Loos, who had written titles for the film.! Their stories were told within the framework of their own particular skills, experiences, and contributions. Some bias and differences of opinion were inevitable. The value of the oral history approach was to bring the differing views out in the open where they could be compared. Taken together, the accounts of the experiences of the interviewees present a clearer understanding of why and how the film Intolerance was made and assist in interpreting the silent film period. None of the interviewees knew the full story of the production of Intolerance as they evaluated the film from different production aspects and degress of intimacy with Griffith. If the success or failure of the film is judged on its technical and artistic merits, the interviewees agree it was a success. They also agree that the film would never have popular general audience appeal because it is tediously long. Film historians concur. Only film students flock to see it. The interviewees express a great depth of feeling toward D. W. Griffith. Their enthusiasm is open and genuine. They share a great sense of pride in their association with him and are all devoted and loyal. They feel close to Griffith even though none of their relationships—with the possible exception of Lillian Gish—were ever on a personal level.

DW Griffith and Lillian Gish

They had courted his pleasure and were deeply appreciative of the smallest of compliments from Griffith. They bore no resentment that he did not credit their work in his films. Griffith treated the women with dignity and courtesy and expected them to be ladies. He encouraged their creativity. In turn, they gave him their undivided loyalty and devotion and worked hard to please him. The men were equally as loyal although somewhat more willing to admit flaws in Griffith. The intense effect Griffith had on the interviewees is as complex and difficult to explain as the man himself. It can be attributed primarily to the combination of his maturity, father image, personal magnetism, and leadership qualities and his ability to inspire creativity and to generate excitement in the work and the films they produced together. During the silent film era, the interviewees did not recognize the significant contributions they were making to their craft and the industry. With the passage of time, however, they realized the magnitude of the art they helped create.

Fine Arts – Griffith Stars Back Row: Dorothy Gish, Seena Owen, Norma Talmadge Middle Row: Robert Harron, Harry Aitken (producer), Sir Beerbohm-Tree, Owen Moore, Wilfred Lucas Front Row: Douglas Fairbanks, Bessie Love, Constance Talmadge, Constance Collier, Lillian Gish (Marfa in Sold For Marriage), Fay Tincher, DeWolfe Hopper Photograph – Raymond Lee of Roy George Association

They were proud of their role and wanted to talk about it. Theirs was a time of great experimentation and development. It is remarkable that except for technical equipment advances and sound, the basic filmmaking techniques they helped develop stand today. The interviewees were completely different in temperament and personality, but some common traits—such as pride in self and work, strength of character, tenacity, aggressiveness, desire to achieve, self-confidence, sense of humor, and a respect for one another—come out in the interviews. All had a natural talent for their work. They succeeded because they seldom considered failure. Lack of formal education did not deter them. They were in movies because they wanted to be. In order to stay there, they had to be the best. They were doing something that very few of their peers were able to do because it was a disgrace in many social circles to work in the movies. But they considered themselves very special people engaged in a very special craft. They all had great confidence in their abilities. They obviously were not well acquainted with one another when they worked with Griffith but grew to respect and admire one another in old age. They enjoyed being discovered by film historians, students, and others, and liked to share their experiences. They had a sense of history and were eager to get their life stories written or preserved on tape. Miriam Cooper, Joseph Henabery, Lillian Gish, and Anita Loos all arranged for their memorabilia to be deposited either in the Library of Congress or the Museum of Modern Art. Their films have not been as well preserved and many have been lost through deterioration or destruction. Still photographs are the only remaining source of information about many of the films they were involved in producing. The taped words and voices of the interviewees provide the means to experience more closely the period of the silent film.

DW Griffith filming team – Mamaroneck NY – Way Down East

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Lillian Gish: The Movies, Mr. Griffith and Me – Reviewed by Frank O’Connor (1969)

The Objectivist 1969-11: Vol 8 Iss 11

Editor: Ayn Rand

Lillian Gish: The Movies, Mr. Griffith and Me

Reviewed by Frank O’Connor

The audience watched in silence. There was no sound, except the music; the applause broke out only after the two girls had left. Then the people departed; they did not stay to see the flower show; neither did I. I think I was the last one to leave; I wanted to hold that image as long as possible. From then on, I always saw these two stars as I had seen them in person, in that garden, in reality – not as I saw them in the gray shadows of the screen.

Their names were Lillian and Dorothy Gish.

Now, fifty years later, Lillian Gish has written her autobiography. It is a remarkable document; it presents the story of the birth of American motion pictures.

Read the whole article accessing the link below:

The Movies Mr.Griffith and Me

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Artificial Archaeology And The Cinema – Griffith’s Intolerance By Drew (2008)

May 7, 2008, 10:24 pm

The cinema has always had an interesting practical relationship with archeology in addition to a more obvious influence its image in popular culture. Who doesn’t think of Indiana Jones when archeology is in the news- despite the fact that the good Doctor Jones never had to fill out all the forms and paperwork involved with Cultural Resource Management before hacking his way through primordial jungle, or even complete a single grant application to actually pay for his map-overlayed flight to Peru. It is interesting to compare the differences between the actual processes involved in archeology, and the ways archeology is depicted– a false archeology- addressed through the cinema in a new way, both creating an actual, pseudo-ruin and a realistically artificial image of Babylon.

Tha famous baloon from where Griffith tried to shoot – thus inventing the crane concept

(the capture of Babylon by Cyrus the Great from Intolerance– the sets are full size, and, besides limited matte/model work and forced perspective, has little in the way of what we would call ‘special effects’- just old fashioned camera trickery and genius accountants at work)

Perhaps the best example of this ‘false archeology’ can be found in D.W. Griffith’s silent classic Intolerance. Equally a response to the criticism of his earlier work, Birth of a Nation, (the racist content of which reinvigorated the KKK from the shell of its post-Reconstruction strength to a menacingly popular organization from the 1920s onwards- the film had even originally been titled The Clansman) and an attempt to ‘top’ what had been his greatest success, the film, through four intertwined, historical stories (the Massacre of St. Bartholomew, Capture of Babylon, Crucifixion of Jesus, Contemporary America) “shows how hatred and intolerance have struggled, through the ages, against love and charity”. The result is intriguing: a gigantic, brilliant, financial flop of a film depicting the cruelty of hatred, directed by a man most famous for ending his previous film with the Klu Klux Klan rescuing Lillian Gish from marrying a black man by ‘riding to the rescue’, taking away guns from black men, and then keeping them from voting. President Wilson, upon seeing Birth of Nation, supposedly said it was “like writing history with lightning.”  So much for the Fourteen Points.

If it is possible to look at the film from a technical perspective, it was groundbreaking in terms of it’s filming methods and editing style. It is odd to think that other technically impressive films with unsavory overtones, such as the famously pro- Nazi box-office blitzkriegs Triumph of the Will and Olympia, are lauded for their creative achievement and at the same time reviled for their content. Birth of A Nation wasn’t an exception: it was incredibly controversial even when it was first released, and he did recut the film in 1921 to remove explicit reference to the KKK- of course, after everyone in America had already seen it. Intolerance was to be different- even more groundbreaking, epic in scope, and with a positive message that couldn’t detract from Griffith’s reputation. The film’s sprawling, four part story was made possible only by the financial success of Birth of A Nation, but despite this hefty bankroll, the film faced huge budget problems throughout its production, largely a result of the sheer scale of the project.

Intolerance

The four different sequences aren’t given equal time or attention- after all, who wants to see Contemporary America and it’s problems when you can watch saucy, nearly-nude dancing girls and sumptuous scenes of conquest.  The unabashed center of Intolerance is the Babylon sequences. Forget CGI cityscapes and lily-livered greenscreening: Intolerance‘s set design is the most incredible feat of directorial chutzpah, Hollywood financial wizardry, and genuine craftsmanship ever produced by the cinema- an honest to god attempt at making a full scale replica of Babylon. The Babylon sequences are given the most screen time and directorial attention, and serve to bind the overarching story- the fall of the city is the film’s most compelling scene as Griffith’s innovative camera lingers on the city as the invaders storm the huge set.  Hollywood has done nothing to equal this- even Ben-Hur’s chariot scene pales in comparison to the humongous Babylon set.

(Babylon as seen in Intolerance, restored photo

(Ishtar Gate from the walls of ancient Babylon, now in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin.)

(The walls of Babylon as they appear today)

(This Moloch Machine is In keeping with the same fine American tradition that has created a miniature New York City inside a city built in the middle of the barren wastes of the Nevada desert- Las Vegas. Designed to liberate tourists from the burdens of their capital through the wiles of chain restaurants and shopping, this mall, in Los Angeles @ Hollywood and Highland, is directly based upon the Intolerance set [note the elephant on top of the pedestal on the right]

It would, for obvious reasons, be difficult to argue that Griffith’s Intolerance is a literal archaeological history- the sets and costumes, realistic as they might appear, have as much to do with the actual history of Babylon as Schliemann‘s pillage of of golden treasure has in common with 2004’s excuse to unleash notoriously old man Peter O’Toole and horrendously accented Brad Pitt in TroyIntolerance is largely a conjecture, a mix of actual archeology and the imagination of a particularly gifted art design. The film was extensively researched by Griffith, who insisted on a high degree of realism- or at least the appearance of realism, in the set design. Objects in the film were usually based off actual, excavated objects- academic books were flipped through ad nauseum, and, most interestingly, a huge scrapbook of sources was compiled exclusively for the film’s art design:

“There is, however, a good deal of evidence in the film itself to show that considerable research was done in such areas as history, architecture, furniture, costumes, and the decorative arts. Outside the film there are records and anecdotes which testify to the research done for both archeological accuracy and aesthetic effects in the film. In addition to these sources of information, there is, in the Griffith Archives of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, a scrapbook compiled specifically for Griffith’s use during the filming of the Babylonian sequence of Intolerance.” {Hanson 496}

(Several pages from Griffith’s scrapbook on Intolerance– illustrations were often directly cut out from academic books and organized in the scrapbook by a dedicated team that worked personally with Griffith on the whole project.)

However, the demands of the camera could, and did, take precedence over the realism of the scrapbooks. Specific costume items had to be personalized for the actor or actress who would wear the garment. Stylization was allowed with some of the props, using the talents of the film’s incredible art design team (which Griffith directly led, having two Lead Designers on the film) to make certain particular objects were a bit more glamorous and attractive- after all, this is Hollywood Movie Magic we’re talking about, not some schmoe AIP vampire flick.

One architectural item in particular Griffith wanted in the film were elephants on top of the Babylonian city’s columns, perhaps inspired by an earlier Italian silent film on the ancient Carthaginians, Cabiria (1914).  This connection between Griffith, who has been alternately rehabilitated and condemned for Birth of a Nation, and Cabiria‘s director, Gabrielle D’Annunzio, is somewhat odd, since D’Annunzio faced similar PR nightmares for being one of the first fascists in Italy, serving alternately as mentor and rival to Mussolini, and briefly conquering the city of Fiume and turning it into perhaps the strangest country emerge from WW1, with it’s fundamental principle being ‘music’.  Epic films must attract epic egotists to their helms.

“Joseph Henabery recalls very well Griffith’s insistence upon the inclusion of elephants in the Intolerance set. Griffith was very keen on those elephants. He wanted one on top of each of the eight pedestals in Belshazzar’s Palace. I searched through all my books. ‘I’m sorry’, I said, ‘I can’t find any excuse for elephants. I don’t care what Dore’ or any other biblical artist has drawn- I can find no reason for putting elephants up there. To begin with, elephants were not native to this country. They may have known about them, but I can’t find any references.’ Finally, this fellow Wales found someplace a comment about elephants on the walls of Babylon, and Griffith, delighted, just grabbed it. He very much wanted elephants up there!” {Hanson 500}

The Intolerance set came to resemble an architectural model on a huge scale, albeit not a particularly accurate one. It’s sheer scale was overwhelming- massive, truly expansive, a monument in its own right, except it honored Griffith and the cinema instead of the Kings of Babylon- similar structures built more than a thousand years apart for entirely different purposes. The set strove for a ‘heightened’ realism- it was aggressive in its authenticity, but was still altered and changed from the ‘true’, architectural building it  aped to make it appear more realistic through the camera’s moderated eye. The set of Intolerance was an imperfect doppelganger, an artificial archeology that reflected the grand idea of Babylon more than its more practical reality.

Despite the set of Intolerance being, by its very nature, fake, it actually became an actual archeological ruin of a certain nature, for at least a short while. The huge costs of the film made dissembling the set impossible, since labor costs had already been overrun so heavily and Hollywood studios are, if anything, hesitant to sink more money into a film that has already been released. The film’s box office was also somewhat less than expected, although the film eventually did turn a profit- audiences weren’t very taken with the complicated four-part plot, preferring to spend their money on tamer fare that was less preachy. As a result, the set lay abandoned since the producers refused to spend more money to destroy their fake city. Thus, for a time, Los Angeles had an abandoned Babylon within its borders, quickly deteriorating in the wind and weather as the cheap production processes set design use as their trademark slowly came undone.  It soon became something of a tourist attraction, despite its worsening condition, and the city’s frequent fines.

An abstract question presents itself- had some disaster befallen the Earth in the winter of 1916, destroying our civilization in some sort of surreal, divine punishment for the forthcoming sins of flappers and Art Deco, would future archaeologists, coming across a ruined Babylon in sunny Los Angeles, have believed Hammurabi’s code had been proclaimed on the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard instead from ancient Iran? Eventually, the set for Intolerance burned down in the 1920s, either as an accident or through the actions of producers still hesitant to spend money on removing the huge structure.

(The abandoned set to Intolerance rots away in Los Angeles after the film has finished shooting, but before a fire destroyed the structure)

Hanson, Bernard. ‘D.W. Griffith: Some Sources.’ The Art Bulletin, Vol. 54, No. 4, 1972.

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Vanity Fair Archive – Lillian Gish (PDF Download)

The particular genius of Lillian Gish lies in making the definite charmingly indefinite. Her technique consists in thinking out a characterization directly and concretely and then executing it in terms of semi-vague suggestion. The acting of every other woman in the moving pictures is a thing of hard, set lines; the acting of Lillian Gish is a thing of a hundred shadings, hints and implications. The so-called wistful smile of the usual movie actress is a mere matter of drawing the lips coyly back from the gums; her tears are a mere matter of inhaling five times rapidly through the nose, blinking the eyes and letting a few drops of glycerine trickle down the left cheek.

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Life With Father - Lillian Gish and Percy Waram

Lillian Gish – The Chicago Tribune Archive (PDF Download)

Miss Gish is a rarely fascinating personality in the theater, moving consciously about; falling into unconsciously graceful poses; speaking in a gentle voice with modest expression; suggesting a little girl playing most intelligently at acting, but still a little girl.

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Griffith’s Next Big Film is ‘Babylon’ (Los Angeles Herald, 1918)

  • Los Angeles Herald, Volume XLIV, Number 51, 31 December 1918
  • GRIFFITH’S NEXT BIG FILM IS ‘BABYLON’

With lines as long as a showman’s dream pounding against the box office where “The Greatest Thing in Life” is showing, D. W. Griffith announces he is going to take off the big holiday hit Saturday night and replace it with the story of “Babylon” taken from his stupendous “Intolerance.” So many requests received from every section of the country at the time Mr. Griffith’s spectacle was first shown, have finally led him to release the story of Babylon as a separate and distinct picture. In the former version there were about three reels dealing with the destruction of the city. The new play, however, contains the complete historical romance of the mountain girl who would have saved her city had her king been sufficiently sober to listen to her warnings. Embellished with thousands of feet of photographs taken in the actual valley of the Euphrates, the new production contains but a passing resemblance to the story of “Intolerance.’’ The massive spectacle of the destruction of the city is there with several hundred scenes added, bringing out the vanished glory of that ancient time in a way that was not attempted in the “Intolerance’’ version. Constance Talmadge is seen as the mountain girl, supported by a cast that can never again be gathered. It includes Tully Marshall, Elmer Clifton. Mildred Harris Chaplin, George Siegmann, Seena Owen, Elmo Lincoln and many others who have since earned their right to stardom. The presentation of “The Fall of Babylon” will begin with the matinee performance at Clune’s Auditorium next Monday.

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