What Will Griffith Do Now? – By Gerrit Lloyd (Picture Play Magazine – September 1925)

Picture Play Magazine – September 1925 Vol. XXIII No.1

What Will Griffith Do Now?

After several years of experience as an independent producer, the great D. W. has joined Famous Players, and this important turning point in his career lends new interest to his future work.

By Gerrit Lloyd

Much Has Been Written about D. W. Griffith, but nothing we have ever read about “the big bull elephant” approaches in brilliance or interest this remarkable study of the characteristics of the master of all motion picture directors. The author of this article has been closely associated with Mr. Griffith for several years, and this close association has made it possible for him to write with a knowledge and authority that could never be attained by the casual interviewer.

Griffith and Bitzer on set filming a scene 1919
D.W. Griffith and Billy Bitzer on location in Cuddebackville – NY, directing “The Squaw’s Love.”

THE Big Bull Elephant of the Films has joined the herd again. After launching along strange leadings that twisted at times far from the box-office and the minds of man in frivolous mood, the untamed one has returned to the proven pastures. For Griffith the Bold is not unlike the big bull elephant. He seems to have an ancient and independent wisdom in piloting his personal career, uninfluenced by the school-book efficiencies of the minute. He scandalizes the newest accountants and shocks the most recent graduates from the efficiency seminaries, he puzzles and bewilders and exasperates those who would train him to roll their own little logs, and carry their own little pet freight. Great is the roaring and the turmoil when the big bull elephant starts forth alone ; the crash of barriers tossed aside, the splash of soft footing where the new way is insecure, the rumble and trumpet of intense bulk of purpose on its way. And when he has gone through, there may be no pretty boulevard all hedged and trimmed behind him, but there is a new way broken for others to come along in ease. Through this new land of motion pictures they have come : first, Griffith, the Elephant, sagacious, determined and courageous, with the vitality to make a vehicle of his curiosity. Then comes De Mille, the Royal Tiger, graceful, deft and decisive, stalking the public’s fancy with infallible thrift; and then shyly, with gorgeous smoothness, comes Ingram, the Deer, agile and speedy, with frail aggressiveness ; and Cruze, the Moose, forceful and merry, capering along inviting waterways, pulling forth lily pads of entertainment ; and Von Stroheim, the matchless Leopard, fiercely licking blood, and cynically snarling his contempt for the weaker stomachs. Perhaps no one but Barnum ever felt entirely at ease with a big bull elephant among his assets. And since the individual of yesterday is succeeded by the organization of to-day, probably Famous Players-Lasky has sewed into its vast canopy the mantle of Barnum, and welcomes Griffith back into the pasture again.

Feature photo Griffith

Griffith returns this time along a trail paved with mortgages. He is heavy laden with debts, with his services sold for a year to the welfare of his creditors. His savings from all his vast work are shrunk to the boundary posts of a small California ranch, which is yet undecided whether to take up the white man’s burden of becoming a toiling lemon ranch, or cling to the ease of a scenic spot primeval. A grand adventurer, this man, taking his food where he found it, and struggling on alone ; but now he is back again with a bench for himself at the biggest dinner table in filmland. Behind him there is the roar of money, louder than the snores of Midas. Before him there is a reservoir of trained talent, eager to serve as a thousand fingers to his able hand. For let this be remembered : No creative worker in great enterprise ever has worked so alone as has D. W. Griffith. While others of his trade have had splendidly trained staffs at their command, Griffith selected his own stories, generally without sufficient funds to buy other than those rejected by his competitors; he has written the scenarios ; cast the stories from talent not considered worthy of contract by the larger companies, except his leading man and woman ; financed the costs in grotesque and merciless scrambles with the money lenders ; selected his costumes ; laid out his sets, chosen his locations, supervised all construction; directed every inch of action in the films; edited it; titled it, and then worked out the presentation as to running time and music for delivery to the exhibitors. Yet he has regularly produced more pictures than any other director making comparable productions.

Pickford, Griffith, Chaplin, Fairbanks - United Artists
Pickford, Griffith, Chaplin, Fairbanks – United Artists

D. W. Griffith knows the motion picture more thoroughly than any other person. His reputation for extravagance has girdled the gossip of the world, a legend founded on malicious exaggeration. At least twenty directors have spent more actual money on single pictures than Griffith ever dreamed of doing. But his reputation with money is established now, and nothing will ever change it. False it is, and false it can be proven, yet some day you will find it smugly recorded in his epitaph on the tomb of Filmdom. It began ancient of days, far away when he wished to raise the salary of Mary Pickford from thirty-five dollars to fifty dollars a week. His employers insisted on discharging Mary “because no girl is worth that much in pictures and besides, she has a large, square head that looks too big for her body.” The record, however, is that the salary of Mary Pickford was raised and that she continued in motion-picture work with some degree of success.

J. Jiquel Lanoe, Dell Henderson, Charles Hill Mailes, Robert Harron, Mae Marsh and D.W. Griffith
J. Jiquel Lanoe, Dell Henderson, Charles Hill Mailes, Robert Harron, Mae Marsh and D.W. Griffith

The suspicion of extravagance was confirmed when “this wasting fool, Griffith,” insisted on hiring twentyfive horsemen instead of five in taking the first “long shot” of a line of cavalry. It must be admitted that the reputation rests on a very broad base in the studio census since nearly every player can convince you that Griffith is unscrupulously extravagant because he doesn’t hire that particular player, and because he does hire the players he uses ; and nearly every director can prove Griffith must be extravagant because he makes good pictures and only the waste of money could account for the difference between Griffith’s pictures and their own. When Griffith began making motion pictures, fifty dollars was the maximum to be spent on a film. Now, five hundred thousand dollars is the minimum for a big special. He spent an average of six hours in making his first films ; now he must spend six months. Though I do not speak with the sensitive accuracy of one who has supplied him with money, I do believe in the presence of more proof than any other person ever has had the opportunity of observing, that D. W. Griffith is the most frugal of all directors ; that he gets more into the film for every dollar used than any other director. In ten years, the only film he has made without raveled finance, is “Way Down East.” That work made Lillian Gish and Richard Barthelmess so popular that he immediately lost them to other producers. The first returns from this picture had to go toward repaying a loan, and this most extravagant of directors began his next picture with exactly seventeen thousand dollars to finance it ; although “Way Down East” ultimately earned more than four times its cost.

Actress Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess, Kate Bruce, D.W. Griffith, Mrs. David Landau, Burr McIntosh, Lowell Sherman in a scenne from the movie Way Down East
Actress Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess, Kate Bruce, D.W. Griffith, Mrs. David Landau, Burr McIntosh, Lowell Sherman in a scene from the movie Way Down East

The picture born with the seventeen-thousand-dollar spoon in its mouth was “Dream Street.” With that money, he couldn’t well enter into very serious conversation with any stars ; so he tagged a most likable young hopeful named Ralph Graves for the leading male part. And Graves gave of his best, even to the premium of reading his Bible before the taking of every scene, to the most talkative disdain of an atheist who was an electrician on the set.

Carol Dempster in 'Dream Street' (D.W. Griffith, 1921)
Carol Dempster in ‘Dream Street’ (D.W. Griffith, 1921)

But now there was no money for the rest of the cast, and no scenes could be taken without the presence of the second male part. So this mad waster of wealth, Griffith, solved that by hiring a property boy, raising his wages from thirty-five to fifty dollars a week, and creating for the films a very fine actor indeed—Charles Emmett Mack. So it went during the lean years while the big bull elephant was away from the herd. And now he is back standing with expectant feet, where the plot and money meet, in the powerful organization of Famous Players-Lasky ; trained as no other director is trained to make big films ; experienced in the resources of poverty, and now flooded with wealth in support of his talent; backed by the most perfect organization of its kind in the world.

Henry B Walthall and Mae Marsh - Reunion 2 - Birth of a Nation
Henry B Walthall and Mae Marsh – Reunion – Birth of a Nation

What will he do now?

Three things he has in the superlative : Imagination, courage, and industry. When film characters were but far figures distinctively dressed, he conceived the audacity of showing their faces to reveal the emotional progress of the drama, though his camera man quit in protest at such lunacy and the first audiences hissed their reproach for being disturbed by something new. He recognized the fecundity of film language and bred it from a tight little roll of five hundred feet up to a group of twelve reels of one thousand feet each. He sensed that films should be freighted with a nobler treasure than novelty and fun and drama ; that the camera could lens the scenery of a nation’s soul ; and in black and white he photographed the first epic, known wherever there are human eyes, as “The Birth of a Nation.” It pictured the voiceless instincts of peoples more vividly than the stripes on a gingham dress. Then he confused and affronted this world which stands dreaming from a balcony and imagines itself thinking from a mountain top, by a comet-thrust of his imagination which reduced itself to the film title, “Intolerance.”

Intolerance
Intolerance

And he took the welts of as sound a drubbing as ever was given a bull elephant for wandering away from log rolling. It pinched his savings from a six-figure fortune to an I O U. That work frightened picturedom as Rockefeller’s fortune frightened a country bank. With imagination, he has courage. He dared to recognize the blood soldiers ever under arms in the veins of the people white and the people black in watchful feud at a time when every one was saying “Good little black man, good little white man, be nice together, for you are brothers ;” but he showed it as a stitch in a nation’s heartache and not as box-office bait.

Lillian Gish - The Greatest Thing in Life
The Greatest Thing in Life

Again he showed a white soldier kissing a black one, in his film, “The Greatest Thing in Life.”

He made a Chinaman a hero when all the legends of the theater and films were that a Chinaman must always be a villain. Nor did he do it coweringly ; but with such a spring of passion as to irritate an editor into sewing his ideas with a Greenwich Village thimble and devoting a column to rebuking Griffith as a Sadist.

Lillian Gish and Donald Crisp in Broken Blossoms
Lillian Gish and Donald Crisp in Broken Blossoms

Incidentally, that film, a tragedy, called “Broken Blossoms,” started a sleek-haired young leading man in comedies into becoming a world-famous actor of authentic talent, known as Richard Barthelmess. Several directors have made one tragedy, and then have gone forever galloping after the black figures in the bank book. Griffith began years ago—even before his film, “Sands o’ Dee”—making them again and again ; even unto these recent days of his pernicious financial anaemia, when he told of the flat bellies and full hearts of some Germans in “Isn’t Life Wonderful?” with the beauty and pride of an artist who was speaking his impressions rather than the dividend-bitten formula: “Bust and leg and silken gown ; palatial sets, somewhere a clown; a naughty scheme, a lover’s cheat ; a knock-out scene, an ending sweet.” The big bull elephant was far from the log rolling that time ; and he certainly skewered his kosher with the exhibitors. Courage and imagination he has, and his industry is as plain as a pig’s knuckle. What will he do with them now?

David Wark Griffith Isn't Life Wonderful 1924
David Wark Griffith Isn’t Life Wonderful 1924

Report is he will make first “The Sorrows of Satan,” Marie Corelli’s opulent highway of emotionalism along which to crank a camera. To estimate the things Griffith will do, one must first know the things that are Griffith. To the clan that bagpipes through the highlands of picturedom, Griffith is a spiral mystery, up which they gaze with wonder or disdain to behold ever new turnings. A man of mystery, they call him! Yet where is there another man, in boots or under tomb, about whom it is so easy to be informed accurately? Around every celebrity, much is written, largely inaccurate perhaps, as succeeding generations of commentators cynically expose. In this regard, Napoleon has been most liberally attended. But greater than all the books on Napoleon, than the massed volumes discussing Shakespeare; greater even than the page-piled heights discussing Lincoln, is the library about the man Griffith—and one incorrigibly accurate. In it there are no myths, anecdotes, hearsay, questioned records or chance letters. It is one vast and true revelation of the man’s innermost tide of life stroke.

Lillian Gish, D.W. Griffith, R Harron CloseUp 1914 hjk

Here the man’s soul unpockets its whims, beliefs, ambitions, and experiences, its joys, its strengths and its agonies. It is the truest confession ever read; and read by hundreds of millions. This library is composed of the motion-picture films published under the design “D. W. G.,” numbering in all more than a thousand. The successful productive author may average perhaps thirty novels—a little grove compared to Griffith’s forest of expression. A poet may publish one hundred poems, mostly short, and generally rivered along one narrow channel. A painter may hang one hundred canvases, often a single character study in portrait, or a landscape, or a scene to high-light some definite phase of humanity. Griffith has told his opinions, his understandings and sympathies regarding thousands of characters. Over and over again he has twined the hearts of lovers, from the shy tremors of first love to the flood throws of passion. He has swaggered with the bold and the ambitious; jested with the lofty and sneered with the degenerate; schemed with the connivers and skulked with assassins ; bowed in prayer with the humble ; grieved with the unfortunate; sung with the happy ; wept with the sorrowful ; and died with heroes and cowards. Again and again, he has told it all. To the world he has flown aloft the strange banner of a human soul — a soul literally photographed.

Griffith Early Biograph career
Griffith Early Biograph career

And all as part of a hard day’s work. All of Griffith is in his pictures. And the films that are of Griffith, are directed by a barefooted boy of LaGrange, Kentucky. Who is he, this lad who has seized an empire in the world of shadows? His father was a bold, life-spending Confederate cavalryman, forever hot upon the hazards ; always ready for a toss, whatever the risk. He roused to war’s pageant, enjoyed its honors, and suffered its penalties. The material rewards were some fifty-four wounds which incapacitated him for active work; and the ruin of his finances. Colonel Jacob Wark Griffith was Irish and Welsh, and a Southern gentleman. His reputation given me by a stout old Scotchman is that he entertained and drank and danced with a grace and flourish that enslaved the countryside until the sexton stopped him for their material engagement. His mother was Scotch of the Scotch, of the family of Oglesby; with the sturdy practicality, vigor, and mystic and poetic ideals of that race. Her daughter says that her mother never stopped working, praying, and dreaming.

D.W. Griffith on set
D.W. Griffith on set

There you have Griffith—a romantic warrior locked up in Scotch idealism with the patient, thrifty caution of a Scotch tradesman, and the picturesque gambling audacities of a Welsh-Irish cavalier. The Scotchman looks after his time and work ; the Irish-Welshman spends his money. Destiny punished David W. Griffith with the luxuries of a perfect motion-picture education. Since there were no motion pictures then, the conditions might not be considered luxuries by another standard. In his father’s house were many mansions ; such as the mansions of hospitality and good taste in social values that feed the decencies in life. Few were the books in the neighborhood ; and the few were the older classics. Every one worked while there was sun. Candles were an important item of expense. So the neighbors would gather in one household to benefit by the expenditure of a single candle. The elders exercised the privilege of reserving the chairs. The children were on the floor, often thriftily under the table when guests were numerous, as they always were. Then would the classics be read aloud.

Griffith on the ice floes - Picture-Play Magazine (Aug 1920)
DW Griffith on the ice floes – Picture-Play Magazine (Aug 1920)

Here was the ideal motion-picture school in session—the imaginative, dreamy boy lying in the dark comfortably on his back, listening to all the great deeds and emotions of man told with the splendor and force of the greatest masters. And the boy pictured them in his dreams, never reducing these immortals in their flights of love, adventure, and strife, to the pinched and squinty confines of inked type.

Henry B. Walthall in "The Birth of a Nation"
Henry B. Walthall in “The Birth of a Nation”

When the elders tired of reading, or the candle appropriated for the night was done, they would talk. With their thoughts still stiff from the saddles of the wars, they talked of battles. And lying in the dark, with the vivid mystery which darkness inspires, there flashed through the imagination of the little boy-director lying there, the deeds of battle, the rush and flare of gun-driven conflict. For him no mental bruise of reading the schoolbook- summary of war by clock in school. He saw the battles, heard the “thunder, and struggled in the hot strife. The belch of cannon were the footlights for his vast stage of dreams. The tale of a troop of weary cavalry onwarding under command grew in his vital dreams to a sky sewn with horsemen thundering with golden banners on to victory. Wise little director under the table in the dark ! Already he had been to the wars. Then were first given wing the visions that later were caught again in dramatic permanence as part of the film, “The Birth of a Nation.” They lived again in “Intolerance,” and were revised in “Hearts of the World.” The greatest battle scenes ever made have been done by Griffith, and they were created before he was ten years old. One night he shuddered to the local story of a drunken negro who had pursued a white girl ; and the “chilling” terror of that night later throbbed in scenes in “The Birth of a Nation” that shook Mae Marsh from freckled girlhood into screen immortality, if such there lie. His sister, Mattie, read and reread for him his favorites, the great love stories of the ages. The dreamy boy in denim, with a conqueror’s imagination, feasted upon these treasures of faithful hearts. He pictured these heroines apart from the neighbor girls he knew, something distant, shadowy, sublime, something less than angels, something beyond the flesh. And when he looked the first time upon the motion-picture screen in later years, he saw there the shadowland in which his dream heroines might live again. Always you find something of this dream girl in every Griffith heroine, the gentle, faithful, ideal of the little boy in Kentucky, who spoke poetry to her as he went through the woods in the twilight bringing home the cows from the pasture.

The Birth of a Nation (1915)Directed by D.W. Griffith Shown: Mae Marsh
The Birth of a Nation (1915) Directed by D.W. Griffith Shown: Mae Marsh

When an ill-wind comes hissing from the box offices, scolding against sentiment in his heroines, the Scotch that is in Griffith will roll down her silk stockings, wave her hair, indeed style her to the rising ripple of the moment’s fad, but she is the same girl—sister to all those heroines of youthful dreams, Little Nell, Virginia, Marguerite, Ophelia, Ruth, and all those sweethearts of the masters old. Sometimes she is blonde, and the long-age dreams open like a fan into the screen personality that is Lillian Gish. Again she is dark, and the world knows her as Carol Dempster, vital, buoyant, and fascinating. A strange girl, this Griffith heroine ! She is the sweetheart’s signal song at twilight, the lover’s moon, the evening star, all spun into young womanhood, virgin shy, yet passionate as a puckered mouth, and practical in the progress of mating as a schatchen’s guide.

CAROL DEMPSTER & RICARDO CORTEZ in The Sorrows of Satan - Photo 1926
CAROL DEMPSTER & RICARDO CORTEZ in The Sorrows of Satan – Photo 1926

These Griffith heroines have fruited the greatest moments in all screen literature ; have made the smug and the callous tremble with sympathy and glow with tears. And this Griffith heroine is one definite and undeniable influence that changed the standard of womanly beauty in this country from the Oriental preference of opulent bust and matronly hips to the slender stature that is universally a favorite to-day. The exact date of the change in public taste is the time when the Griffith heroine made her first appearance in the films. The little Kentucky dreamer has done more to erase sensuality from the appearance of the American woman than a hundred years of preaching or a thousand edicts from the fashion makers. So the things that are Griffith include the imaginative genius of the boy who has never grown up ; the deft, perfected skill of a patient and ever-working craftsman, so expert in technique that for sheer deviltry in fingering his magic, he distilled suspense from potatoes ; these, and the showmanship of a successful and experienced ruler of audiences, who understands their wayward traits and frank simplicities. These make up the institution that is Griffith : the force that has become the big bull elephant of the films, now back with the herd again. What will he do? Once he wrote a subtitle. It was in “Hearts of the World.” It said: “If you can’t get what you want, then want what you can get.”

What Will Griffith do Now - Picture-Play Magazine (Sep 1925)
What Will Griffith do Now – Picture-Play Magazine (Sep 1925) Sketch drawn by K.R. Chamberlain

 

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Flashing Back to Romance – By Malcolm H. Oettinger (Picture Play Magazine – November 1921)

Picture Play Magazine – November 1921 Vol. XV No.3

Flashing Back to Romance

In which you are taken to see D.W. Griffith’s next huge production, a screen adaptation of “The Two Orphans,” now in the making; and to meet an actor, new to the screen, who is likely to be the sensation of the coming season.

By Malcolm H. Oettinger

Lillian Gish and Joseph Shildkraut - Orphans of the Storm - Promo V22
Lillian Gish and Joseph Shildkraut – Orphans of the Storm – Promo

TWO gleaming swords flashed in the golden sunlight as two nobles of the court of Louis XVI faced each other, the while courtiers and ladies clustered round in excitement. At the foot of the marble stairway they fenced, parrying and thrusting with fierce intensity, yet consummate grace. At one side a golden-haired country girl, beautiful as any of the towering belles of the court without a suggestion of their artificiality, watched the encounter with hope and anxiety staring from her wide eyes. “We shall see who receives the final rites, M’sieur’ Chevalier !” “Touche!”

Lillian Gish as Henriette at the aristocrats (Liniers) party Orphans of The Storm

A cry of approval goes up from the gayly costumed throng. A sea of white wigs nod in pantomimed conversation. The two nobles, proud in their gay, brocaded coats, their rich, silken breeches, their beribboned stockings, lunge at each other with quickened ardor. Blades clashing, eyes flashing, the men circle swiftly about, never looking anywhere but in each other’s eyes. Again they have started the wary circling, again—and the little Chevalier steps adroitly forward, feints, and with the speed of a tiger runs his glittering sword into his opponent’s breast. A shriek of horror, a general rush toward the swooning victim, a fantastical hubbub.

Joseph Schildkraut
Joseph Schildkraut

The slender, panting Chevalier has grasped the gentle blond girl’s hand, and together they dash up the marble steps. “All right, boys,” says a quiet, sonorities voice. “Let’s do it again. After you’ve stuck him, Mr. Schildkraut, I wish you’d remember to wait until he drops his sword before escaping with Miss Gish. He might be fooling you and stab you in the back.” With a soft chuckle D. W. Griffith resumed the camp chair, from which he had arisen to deliver his criticism. An energetic assistant herded the ladies and courtiers back to the side lines, whence they were to rush once the duel started again. The contestants leaned upon their swords and joked with one another. “Let me kill you this time,” suggested the unfortunate victim of fate and the scenario.

 

After the overwhelming success of ” ‘Way , Down East” it was not surprising that the master of the perpendicular platform should have turned to another tried and tested stage success for his next feature opus. And in turning, it was even less startling that he should have selected “The Two Orphans,” a universally popular romance of the days when knights were bold and women helpless, when feminism was as unheard of as Freudian complexes and Fordian Simplexes, when swords were sharper than words—Shaw had still to be born!—and when, in short, action was more to be desired than epigrams. A period obviously that writes itself dramatically. Of such colorful pattern is “The Two Orphans.” Sentiment, thrills, villainy, romance, and heroism, all are here, woven adeptly, slyly, into a splashy, effective entertainment, luscious meat, if ever there was any, for the movies. And clearly Grififith is relishing his task. In transposing the duel scene to the celluloid, he sat and rocked with chuckles of approbation, his sign, oddly enough, of complete satisfaction. During one of Miss Lillian Gish’s most tragic scenes, later in the day, he laughed happily throughout, a sympathetic laugh.

Orphans of the Storm
Orphans of the Storm – La Guillotine …

‘Tis a joy to do a thing that you are almost certain will be popular,” he said with a smile. “It was a joy, of course, to do ‘Blossoms,’ but then the joy faded. Not so with ‘ ‘Way Down East.’ And this, I think, is a story of equal power, and, in addition, considerably greater pictorial appeal.” He pointed silently to the slender, silvered trees with their crystal leaves, to the marble stairway gleaming in the sunlight, to the chaste statuary gracing the greensward here and there. A fountain tinkled softly behind us. Across its plashing surface the triumphant Chevalier was looking soul fully into the eyes of a red-lipped, alabaster- shouldered, blushing extra girl. She was smiling confusedly. “Le Chevalier stays in character,” I suggested. Lillian Gish, sitting beside the director, smiled. Her flowerlike hands fluttered amusedly. “The whole office force is wild about him,” she said. “Extra girls are just human, too. And the telephone operator—the first morning he came I met her dashing up to her office board with her eyes fairly shining. ‘Isn’t he simply—beautiful ?’ she gasped. And I agreed that he is.

Orphans of the Storm - Henriette and Chevalier de Vaudrey
Orphans of the Storm – Henriette and Chevalier de Vaudrey

I think him about the most beautiful man I have ever seen.” Now the tete-a-tete ” across the fountain seemed to sweep to an end with the Chevalier bending low over the slim hand he held. A kiss, a flourish, and he was rounding the fountain. Then I met the latest of Griffith’s discoveries, in this case a discovery only of the screen, already a footlighted luminary, Joseph Schildkraut. Tragic black eyes, lustrous black hair, a sensitive, aquiline nose, a quivering mouth, and a lithe, straight body of no great height. A firm handclasp, a slight accent, noticeable chiefly because of his carefully precise pronunciation, and an ingenious self-assurance. Ideals, dreams, faith, and a selfconscious trick of suddenly widening eyes to emphasive a point. Foreign to his finger tips; with a dash of Lou Tellegen, a suggestion of Charles the Fifth, a vestige of that auteur that was the youthful Napoleon’s, a tinge of out-and-out showmanship. “I had no idea of doing pictures before Mr. Griffith approached me,” he said, lighting a cigarette and inhaling slowly. “He saw me in ‘Liliom,’ however, and asked me to try camera work, with a view to doing the Chevalier. I knew that it was the director of the world who was speaking, and naturally I consented.

Orphans of the Storm - Henriette and Chevalier de Vaudrey
Orphans of the Storm – Henriette and Chevalier de Vaudrey

“Doing pictures is far more wearing than acting upon the stage. Consider a moment yourself.” An expressive hand pointed a slender finger toward the platform on which he had been fencing. “I do this fencing scene not once or twice, but perhaps twenty times. Then I do the close-ups. Then I do the retakes. And then I am finished—with this one scene ! On the stage I go to the theater at eight, I act until ten forty-five, and I am through. The waiting, the repetition, the enforced—you call it loafing—is killing to an artist.”

Orphans of the Storm - Henriette and Chevalier de Vaudrey
Orphans of the Storm – Henriette and Chevalier de Vaudrey

A passing brunette, carrying in her hand a four-foot wig of dazzling vdiite, smiled alluringly. Schildkraut looked at me quickly, then dropped his eyes. “You will pardon me for a moment?” and hurried—rather strode than hurried, for he is a romantic figure, none of whom ever hurry —over to the lingering damosel. I raised an admiring eyebrow as I watched the young man’s technique in approaching and putting—putting, I should add, his lips upon her hand. Then his luminous eyes clashed with hers. Here was no Hollywood tyro in the gentle art, here no hero by Nick Carter out of Universal City; this was Lothario in the studio. Mr. Griffith was directing Morgan Wallace, the villain of the duel, in a series of close-ups. Like Lowell Sherman, Wallace is a bad man with a sense of humor, a wicked lion among the ladies—screenically—with a wicked line among the ladies. Griffith leaned forward in his chair and taunted Wallace, while the camera clicked on.

 

 

“Ha, you a fencer ! Voila, a thrust—I will kill you ! And there is another. And another. Bah ! You are poor, friend, very poor.” And Wallace parried and countered at the air, eyes blazing evilly, lips curled sardonically, snarls of laughter crowding out the curses. Suddenly he ceased his gyrations and tossed his sword down.

“What’s the matter, Wallace?” The debonair villain looked surprised. “Didn’t you say ‘Lunch?'” Griffith laughed heartily. “No, sir. I said ‘Lunge !’ Now please lunge!” Fifteen minutes later the command telescoped into the more welcome order to sword work of a different nature, and, prying the romantic Liliom from a new and utterly bewitching creature, I started with him toward the cafeteria that is justly termed a feature of the Griffith entourage. Once seated, and dallying with a tender steak, we again took up the problems of the world, with, happily, no idea of attempting to solve them.

“What do you think  of American women?” I asked him. He frowned. “Who cares?” “The public,” I replied.

And,” I added defensively, “I am merely a servant of the press that serves, in turn, the ‘public.” He did not deign to reply. “What are your ideas on love and marriage?” Again he frowned. ‘T does not concern the public whether or not I am a married man or a Mormon, a celibate, or a rounder. It is not their business whether I am middle-aged or old, whether I am stupid or intelligent. I am a public specimen only as an actor, and it is as an actor only that you have a right to consider me. If I am an artist all right. If not, too bad. But what I eat? What I drink? How much I drink? On that I have nothing to say.”

Orphans of The Storm Set DW Griffith
Orphans of The Storm Set DW Griffith

He turned upon his steak savagely. “The public over here is too inquisitive.” This closed the subject, and a moment later found him discussing his European training with Max Reinhardt, with Lubitsch in pictures, and with Pola Negri. “I have worked in all of the best Continental drama,” he said. “Molnar, Wedekind, Shaw, Hauptmann, Wilde. Bahr, Schnitzler ” “You played Anatol?” I interrupted. “Of course. Many times. Schnitzler himself directed our rehearsals. A second Anatol, by the way. A dandy, a beau among the ladies, a philanderer. And who,” he suddenly added, “who that can be is not?” At that precise moment the waitress was gazing at him in undisguised adoration. “Huckleberry pie or apple. Mr. Schildkraut ?” she cooed languishingly.

“Cofifee, Marie,-‘ he replied, and she flew off toward the kitchen with starlit eyes. He had remembered her name!

“No, I have no desire to star,” he admitted after a number of leading questions. “After coming over here from my European success, I did ‘Pagans,’ which, although a failure, brought me wonderful press notices. Belasco, Hopkins, and the Shuberts all offered immediately to star me, but it was the combination of having done ‘Liliom’ already in Vienna, and the Theater Guild —the most artistic producing group in America—that induced me to do ‘Liliom’ here. I have absolutely no wish to see my name in electrics. That means nothing to an artist.”

The Cast - Orphans of The Storm Picture Show Art 1922
The Cast – Orphans of The Storm Picture Show Art 1922

Since Schildkraut is to be so prominent in this next Griffith opus, I may tell you that he was born in Bucharest, Roumania, twenty-five years ago, and first appeared, at five, in Buenos Aires, in support of his father, Rudolph Schildkraut, famous actor of New York’s old Irving Place Theater. His father, incidentally, is his severest critic. Recently the old gentleman visited his son at Mamaroneck, and after watching him act proceeded to the main building on the old Flagler estate to see some “rushes” of the previous day’s work. Only father and son saw the projected film. They remained closeted in the projection room for a long hour. When they came out all traces of cockiness had fled from the youthful Joseph’s face. Traces of tears were apparent. “Papa says I’m rotten,” he murmured sadly. But in this case I would not “Ask dad.” The Griffith stamp of approval is reassuring.

Orphans of the Storm
Orphans of the Storm

While we lunched, I spied Morgan Wallace and the good-looking Creighton Hale at a near-by table, with two charming young things whom I later found were cousins of the Gish sisters, getting their first chance to be movie queens in this huge spectacle play. The one cousin, a striking pippin, with dark hair and chiseled profile, confided to me that extra-girling il: was hard on one’s brogans. “We stand about so much,” she said. “But I’m going to stick to Mr. Griffith any time he will give me the chance. And I’ll have to finish high school first, too. Tell the world it’s wonderful, but awfully hard work.” She looked like a Gainsborough painting come to life, the costume having been an inspiration of the encouraging, sympathetic Lillian’s. I asked Lillian herself what chances she thought the beginner had. She thought for a few moments, then spoke haltingly, gently.

Orphans of The Storm Prog Herald 1921
Orphans of The Storm Prog Herald 1921

“The beginner has a hard road to travel,” she said slowly. “I told the girls what a task it was to be an extra. I warned them. Now if they are anxious to stay in the pictures, I think they should turn out fairly well. They are eager to succeed surely. And that, coupled with beauty and grace, helps tremendously.” Recalling the flood of letters that I had seen in Picture-Play last month electing her one of the Eight Eye Fillers, I mentioned the fact to her.

Dropping her eyes, she smiled in embarrassment. “I never knew that I was a beauty. But it is wonderful to be appreciated. I don’t think any one realizes how I love the letters sent me. They mean so very much—especially now.” Her voice softened.

“Mother is in the hospital. Dorothy and I have been terribly worried about her, and these sweet letters and tokens of admiration have just kept me buoyed up sometimes when everything was bluest.” Sweet, ethereal, dainty, this emotional prima donna is lilylike, fragrant, slender, retiring, graceful—-a far cry from many of the screen heroines who become varnished disappointments off the screen. Her dreamy eyes, her tiny, round mouth, her clear white skin, all are symbolic of the girl herself—girl, I add, rather than woman, though in experience she is indeed no longer young. As we were chatting, Mr. Griffith strolled over to explain the action of the impending scene to the blond Duse.

The Movies Mr. Griffith and Me (03 1969) - Orphans of The Storm 1922 — with Lillian Gish2.

“And I wish you would disarrange your hair, Miss Gish,” concluded the gelatin genius, after the details had been covered. With a smile, the Annie Moore of the unforgettable ” ‘Way Down East” left us.

“This is the thing that the whole world loves,” said the creator of “The Birth,” as he calls it. “Romance! Excitement, thrills, love, and climaxes—not one, but many. When I make a picture I am making it for the world, not for myself. If I were making pictures for myself there would be more ‘Blossoms’ and fewer ‘Dream Streets,’ but”—gradually a smile appeared—”my business sense, poor though it is, tells me that ‘Dream Street’ is adjacent to Easy Street.

“I must attune my work to the masses as well as the classes. The man in the street must be fascinated just as much as the Wall Street broker and the Greenwich Village highbrow, so-called. And in ‘The Orphans’ I believe I have the universal story, with its romance, its comedy, its thrills, its heart interest, and, do not forget, far more opportunity for spreading beautiful sets than ever I have had before. Do you think that I will fail to take advantage of the opportunity?”

Dorothy Gish jumped from comedy to tragedy in this f eatvire, portraying the highly sympathetic character of the little blind girl. Creighton Hale will have the comedy moments, and, as we have already indicated, the fight for the final fade-out rests between Morgan Wallace and the talented, exotic Schildkraut. That reminds me that he told me Romeo will be his next role with the Theater Guild, opposite his present speaking-stage inamorata, Eva le Gallienne, an actress of no slight power. “What I want to do,” said Schildkraut, just before I entrained for the lights of Manhattan and a ringside seat at the Follies, “what I should love to do is Ibsen. He is the master mechanic, the complete playwright. He is so easy to do, you see, and yet one receives such extraordinary credit for doing him. Then there is always Schnitzler. And several of the English Maugham’s plays are masterly. It is my intention to stay here in America, dividing my time between the stage and screen—under the direction of the Guild in the one instance, and, of course, Mr. Griffith in the silent drama.”

On the way to the studio bus, Mr. Griffith showed me the village street in old France—Mamaroneck—complete in detail to the last cobblestone. Many of the mob scenes will be staged here, those spectacular mass effects that have placed D. W. second to none the world over. He told me that Lillian Gish was far and away the premiere actress of the silver sheet, that photography he considered second only to story, that “The Two Orphans” would take longer to make than anything he has ever done—with the possible exception of “Intolerance”—and, startling statement this, that any one can act who is not an “actor.” “Give me a plastic person who will let himself go, without thinking what he is going to look like on the screen, and I will make a real player of him. The hardest person to work with is the self-opinionated trouper with ‘ideas’ on everything from the death scene in ‘Camille’ to the off-stage shriek in ‘The Jest.’ One of the saddest losses the screen ever suffered was Clarine Seymour. Another was Bobbie Harron. Neither knew anything technical of stagecraft. They were simply born actors. And so few people are! “The born actor needs no stimulation—no music, for example. We use it very rarely. It serves only to confuse in most instances. In doing a romance like ‘The Orphans’ there’s something akin to a lyrical swing running through the whole thing—abroad, tender, appealing.” And if I were picking an artist to breathe reality into the romance of eighteenth-century France, I  should not hesitate in my selection of this same David Wark Griffith. The man is as big as his ideals. There was an enthusiasm in his voice and manner that argued well, it seemed to me, for the success of the picture, and I was told, confidentially, by one of his aids that Griffith has appeared to be much happier in the making of this picture than he has for some time. All of which has made me eager and impatient to see the finished production—a feeling which I am sure that countless thousands of Griffith’s followers will soon be sharing.

La fete from Orphans of The Storm - Henriette kidnapped by Marquise De Liniers ...
La fete from Orphans of The Storm – Henriette kidnapped by Marquise De Liniers …

 

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Way Down East, a “b’gosh” Drama – By Peter Milne (Picture Play Magazine – 1920)

Picture Play Magazine – Volume XIII December 1920 No.4

The Screen in Review

By Peter Milne

DEEP-ROOTED in the traditions of the American stage is the “b’gosh” drama. This type of rural play, headed by such classics as “Way Down East,” and “The Old Homestead.” and runningdown the line to cruder copies of these, was prominently in vogue a decade or two ago. The term “b’gosh” was fastened on these plays rather condescendingly. It implied more than the mere expression of the amazed squire who exploded “b’gosh” at various moments throughout the play; it implied the squire’s false whiskers, the villain in riding boots, the simpleton hero, the barnyard scene with its painted backdrop, and the becurled ingenue whose manicured finger nails reflected the footlights. It never was great art, but it had a deep and abiding appeal. It has remained for the motion picture to eliminate some of the “b’gosh” element from the rural drama. Under the magic of the camera the squire’s whiskers have long since taken on an aspect of reality. The riding boots of the villain are not quite so obvious. Charles Ray and some few others have endowed the country heroes with a very sincere human note. The ingenue milks the cow in a real rural setting. The barnyard scene with its painted backdrop gives way to beautiful pastoral photographs. The camera reflects true rural life.

Actress Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess, Kate Bruce, D.W. Griffith, Mrs. David Landau, Burr McIntosh, Lowell Sherman in a scenne from the movie Way Down East
Actress Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess, Kate Bruce, D.W. Griffith, Mrs. David Landau, Burr McIntosh, Lowell Sherman in a scene from the movie Way Down East

“Way Down East” is a production in which D. W. Griffith has taken advantage of this refining influence of the camera on the rural melodrama. He has taken this old classic and turned out an astounding production, one which is already placed beside “The Birth of a Nation” in the elements of human interest, thrill, and spectacular effect. It is Griffith’s first “big” picture since “Hearts of the World.” By it he demonstrates his right to be placed above all others of his craft as the wizard who knows the hearts of the majority of picturegoers, a right which during the past two years might justly have been questioned. But though Griffith nods at times and perhaps dozes a bit his reawakenings are marked by such epics as “Way Down East.” So we can easily forgive him his little lapses.

Way Down East Wedding Salon Hotel

The first part of “Way Down East” concerns itself with the tragedy of the betrayal of Anna Moore by Lennox Sanderson, the city villain. It is melodramatic only in its fundamental situation. For the rest it is a brilliant characterization by Lillian Gish, who portrays the role of the girl. The persecuted heroine of the present production is by far the greatest role created by this actress. The heights to which she builds through her nervous, intensifying emotional ability are superb. Her romantic scenes, when she hears Sanderson’s false avowal of love, and believes the mock marriage ceremonial true, are touched with a beautiful appeal. Her sudden awakening, the realization that the man she held most dear has betrayed her, are terrific. The depths of despair to which she sinks after the death of her baby—pitifully baptized by its frenzied mother — sound a note of tragedy that is tremendously potent.

"Way Down East" - Lillian Gish
“Way Down East” – Lillian Gish and Richard Barthelmess

The second part of the story concerns itself with the development of Anna’s real romance with David, the squire’s son—a role played by Richard Barthelmess who is shown with Miss Gish’ in a scene from the play in the picture above. Here Griffith has trotted out many of the “b’gosh” incidents of the original play, and even exaggerated them. The comedy is rough and jars in its tremendous contrast with the beautifully done major action. There are plenty of genuine light scenes, pretty and amusing, but the horse play of Martha Perkins, Sterling, and Whipple strike discordant notes. But it is in this part of the picture also that the power of the camera over the theater stage asserts itself. The photography of the rural landscapes is wondrously beautiful.

Burr MackIntosh - Scene from Way Down East
Burr MackIntosh (Squire Bartlett) – Scene from Way Down East

Then comes the long sequence of climactic action—the greatest thrill ever shown. Anna’s past is revealed, and the wrath of the squire descends upon her. A brief moment of triumph is hers when she denounces Sanderson before the farmer folk who have held him a gentleman. This moment, incidentally, is Miss Gish’s triumph as well as the character’s. It is the rarest piece of acting that the screen has offered in all its years.

Anna, having denounced Sanderson, goes out into the driving snowstorm, toward the river and oblivion. At length she falls exhausted on the river ice. In the meantime David is wildly searching for her and finally comes to the river just as the great ice break begins! The ice cracks and swirls in the waters and starts its way down the current to the falls. Anna lies unconscious on a jagged piece which is soon caught in the current and hurled recklessly on.

Horrified, David begins his pursuit, leaping from one ice cake to another, nearing his goal, only to have the gap widened again the next moment by some eccentricity of the ice break, or the river current. But he keeps on, making dangerous leaps, sometimes slipping —once, indeed, he immersed himself in the water only to scramble on again in a mad frenzy to save the girl of his heart from destruction.

"Way Down East" - Lillian Gish
“Way Down East” – Lillian Gish – Final scene, rescued from the blizzard

And just as the ice bearing Anna touches the very brink of the falls, David, by one final, superhuman effort, reaches her side, snatches her from certain death, and then beats back against the ice floe to the shores of safety. Griffith is a wizard when it comes to the building of such a climax and in holding the suspense. The quick flashes from Anna to David, the numerous shots of the falls, the terrific struggle waged by David, despite his seemingly hopeless task, all bespeak the hand of a master craftsman. It is a thrill that equals anything else that even Griffith has done, not excepting the ride of the clansmen in “The Birth of a Nation” or the finale of “Hearts of the World,” in which the hero dashes to the rescue of the heroine. The ice floe is more relentless than the Hun.

Way Down East - filming the "Ice Floe Scene" (Lillian Gish)
Way Down East – filming the “Ice Floe Scene” (Lillian Gish)

I think Griffith has gone too far in his realism on various occasions throughout “Way Down East.” The flash of Anna that suggests the tortures of childbirth might better be omitted. And it is hard to understand why an artist such as Griffith must needs introduce such minor vulgarities as the Sanderson orgy and the scene in the bedroom, in which the bed is the center of attention, just after the mock marriage of Anna and Sanderson. Realism with a capital “r” is unnecessary. But no minor exceptions can dim the praise that is Griffith’s for “Way Down East” as a whole. In his fine work he has been aided by Miss Gish’s wonderful performance, by the upright work of Richard Barthelmess as David, by the polished performance of Lowell Sherman as Sanderson, and by Burr Mcintosh’s characterization of Squire Bartlett.

Griffith in Way Down East - Picture-Play Magazine (Dec 1920)
Griffith in Way Down East – Picture-Play Magazine (Dec 1920)

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Just Marionettes – By Louise Williams (Picture Play Magazine September 1919)

Picture Play Magazine September 1919 Vol. XI No.1

Just Marionettes

Like all creative artists who venture away from the beaten tracks, D. W. Griffith is impelled and guided by a big force—a force which he himself, perhaps, does not understand.

By Louise Williams

The Movies Mr. Griffith and Me (03 1969) - One of Lillian's favorite pictures of D.W. Griffith — with D. W. Griffith.

INCENSE floated out from the stage, while the notes of a balalaika orchestra threaded a plaintive melody back and forth through the fabric that was being woven in the mind of the audience. Far back in a corner of one of the upper boxes sat D. W. Griffith, hat drawn down over his eyes, chin sunk deep in his overcoat collar, watching unobtrusively to see how New York would take “Broken Blossoms,” the result of his last straying from the beaten paths of picture making, and the first picture of his repertoire series. “I wonder,” thought I as I watched him, “whether you really knew, when you began this picture, what you were going to  achieve—or whether you’re a marionette ?” For the big, creative geniuses, you know, are often like marionettes, obeying the guiding hands of invisible puppeteers, which pull the strings that make them perform. Ibsen, for example, said that his great allegory, “Peer Gynt,” was written in response to a mighty impulse, and that not until the work had been completed for several months did he understand and appreciate w hat he had done.

That Griffith was, after this manner, a marionette,” mysteriously impelled, I learned to my intense satisfaction a few morning’s later, when he invited a small group to attend a special showing of the new picture. The party was composed of Nevinson, the official British War artist, who was in the States for two weeks, and who had illustrated Burke’s “Limehouse Nights,” an art critic, a musician and dramatic critic, and myself.

Broken Blossoms - Lillian Gish
Broken Blossoms – Lillian Gish

“We didn’t have any idea that this picture would take hold in the way it has,” Griffith remarked with the most unassuming frankness as we stood, discussing the picture, after the showing was over. “It was originally intended to be just a regular picture, so far as presentation was concerned. But something impelled ne—the story, in the first place. I believed in it. Personally, I think that Thomas Burke is about the only writer doing anything original nowadays, and his ‘Chink and the Child,’ from which we made this picture, has a big message, which ought to do much toward internationalizing human sympathy. Of course, we broke all the rules when we did this story ; it has a yellow man for a hero, instead of a white one ; it’s tragedy throughout ; there are no quick, snappy bits ; the story moves very slowly. But I believe that it shows convincingly that we’re wrong when we labor under the delusions that Americans are superior to those they call ‘foreigners.’ No nation can-do that—just as no nation can afford to think that it represents all the beauty and heroism and ideals in the world.” As he talked on I began to see how the strings that moved him have been pulled in other cases. Take “The Birth of a Nation,” for instance ; the idea of making an enormous, spectacular production held him there.

Intolerance
Intolerance

“Intolerance” was the most vivid sort of pageantry, with a besetting sin of all nations linking the ages together. “Hearts of the World” was inspired by the idea of making a war picture on the battlefields. “True Heart Susie” dares to be commonplace, despite the fact that to see dramatic possibilities in everyday life is a difficult thing for most of us. Yet Griffith does not look like the sort of man whose life is swayed by big ideas, or, perhaps, not like we’d expect such a man to look. He is as little of a poseur as any hardware merchant. Genuinely interested in making motion pictures that will more nearly approach the highest standards than those which we now have, he is ever ready to accept suggestions, perfectly straightforward in acknowledging his own shortcomings, and quite willing to laugh at himself. Rather English in appearance, and very friendly in manner, he seemed to me to be just the material that something tremendous worked with—just a marionette.

Broken Blossoms

“I don’t know exactly what to say,” he remonstrated when asked how he succeeded in teaching an actor to “put over” a character as vividly as those in “Broken Blossoms” are portrayed. “Of course I know Chinamen and have lived among them; I tried to put what I know of them into that picture. “But you must remember that the camera can’t lie; it seems to bore through superficial features and pull the character to the surface. So an actor must have in him some of the essentials of the character he’s portraying, and my part in helping an actor to play a role is just to give him the idea of it. Then he works out the part as he sees it, and I talk it over with him and help him to get his idea expressed—to crystallize it, you might say. Of course we build up a picture—this was especially true of ‘Broken Blossoms’—not word by word, but emotion by emotion.

Lillian Gish - FEAR - Broken Blossoms
Lillian Gish – FEAR – Broken Blossoms

And an actor must have faith in his ability to build up a role in this way, and in his director’s ability to help him, if we’re going to make really good pictures.” He said nothing of the faith which it takes to produce a picture that fairly tempts Fate in its defiance of the usual standards or to put through a brand-new idea, such as that of the repertoire theater for motion pictures. “Broken Blossoms” last May began Mr. Griffith’s repertoire season at the Cohan Theater in New York; followed by the Babylonian episode from “Intolerance,” it includes “The Mother of the Law,” a drama of simple home life, which might be classed with “True Heart Susie,” and revivals of some other former Griffith successes. That was the program at this writing. It marks a new departure in motion pictures, though only after the season is over can one say whether it will be a successful one or not, but those who read as they run declare that its existence is just another of the signboards which Mr. Griffith follows when he turns aside from the beaten path. Curiosity as to how he helped those who work with him to create a role in this way led me straight to Lillian Gish; I wanted to see if she, too, caught the big ideas that govern her director.

Lillian Gish and Richard Barthelmess - Broken Blossoms
Lillian Gish and Richard Barthelmess – Broken Blossoms

“Why, I don’t know; ‘Broken Blossoms’ was such an easy picture to do,” she said in answer to my question, after we’d visited a bit. “Mr. Griffith always talks over a character with you, of course, and then when you are making the scene he stands by and sort of fills it in; tells you what’s going on. For instance, in that scene where I was locked in the closet and my father was trying to break down the door and kill me—it wouldn’t have done for me to remember that Mr. Crisp, who played the part of my father, had finished his scenes and gone fishing, would it?” She stopped to laugh a moment, and I wished the screen could show how blue her eyes are and how yellow her hair is. “So Mr. Griffith stood there by the camera, and said: ‘He’s going to kill you ; he’ll surely break down the door; now he’s got an ax, and he’ll break in and you can’t escape—and he’ll kill you with that whip he’s beaten you with——’ Not exactly those words, of course, but things like that that would fill in the mental picture for me.”

And looking at that slim, pretty girl, with her childish mouth that shows a hint of the roguishness that makes her sister Dorothy such a charming comedienne, I wondered more than ever how she had been able to portray Lucy’s dull little mind and the great, tearing fear that fairly leaped out from the screen and caught the audience in its grasp.

Broken Blossoms
Lillian Gish and Richard Barthelmess in “Broken Blossoms” (Lucy Burrows and Cheng Huan “Chinky”)

“You see,” she went on after a moment’s thought, “it’s getting the idea of a part that helps most—if you have that well in your head it moves everything you do. I knew Lucy so well after reading Burke’s story that it didn’t seem as if I myself did anything at all. Mr. Griffith gave me the main ideas for my work, and then—well, I just went ahead.” So apparently his idea had been pulling the strings that moved Lillian Gish as well. And Richard Barthelmess, who plays the Chinaman, quite frankly admitted that something—he didn’t exactly know what—had governed his playing of Cheng Huan.

Lillian Gish and Richard Barthelmess (Moon Scene) Broken Blossoms
Lillian Gish and Richard Barthelmess (Moon Scene) Broken Blossoms

“I didn’t really know whether I was being Chinese or just being different,” he told me with a worried look in his brown eyes. “You see, somebody else had been rehearsing that part, and then one day Mr. Griffith said he’d like to see me do it, so I did, and he cast me for it. But I’d just been doing light-comedy roles with Dorothy Gish, you know, and of course this was so different that—but then Mr. Griffith emphasizes character a lot, you know, more than anything else. And he gave me the idea of that role so clearly that it wasn’t at all hard to do.”

print of a scene from D.W. Griffith's Broken Blossoms (1919) with Lillian Gish as Lucy Burrows and Richard Barthelmess as the Chinaman Cheng Huan
print of a scene from D.W. Griffith’s Broken Blossoms (1919) with Lillian Gish as Lucy Burrows and Richard Barthelmess as the Chinaman Cheng Huan

There you are again. Mr. Griffith gave him the idea, and it was the idea behind the work of Griffith himself that made the picture. So that last little talk seemed to complete the circle of marionettes—with the big conception of new things for the screen, which always, in one form or another, sways Griffith as the power that sets them all in motion.

Just Marionettes 1 - Picture-Play Magazine (Sep 1919)
Just Marionettes 1 – Picture-Play Magazine (Sep 1919)
Just Marionettes 2 - Picture-Play Magazine (Sep 1919)
Just Marionettes 2 – Picture-Play Magazine (Sep 1919)
Just Marionettes 3 - Picture-Play Magazine (Sep 1919)
Just Marionettes 3 – Picture-Play Magazine (Sep 1919)

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When England Woke (The Great Love) – Picture Play Magazine – Sep. 1918

Picture Play Magazine – Vol. IX September 1918 No.1

When England Woke

IT was in a base hospital in London that the idea came to D. W. Griffith out of which grew the big war story of the awakening of England’s social butterflies, soon to be released under the title, “The Great Love.”

DW Griffith shooting a scene from The Great Love 1918
DW Griffith shooting a scene from The Great Love 1918

“Here is the message American women need,” Griffith exclaimed, as he watched a titled Englishwoman ministering to a wounded soldier. Immediately he set to work to get the pictures of the society and noblewomen who have plunged themselves into war work. Both Queen Mary and the Dowager Queen Alexandra consented to pose for him, the latter appearing in the photograph, taken while on an errand of mercy and cheer to one of England’s fighters. In the picture below are Bettina Stuart-Wortley, Lady Diana Manners, daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Rutland, the most famous beauty in English society, and Violet Asquith, daughter of the ex-premier of England.

The cast of “The Great Love,” headed by Henry B. Walthall, includes Lillian Gish, George Fawcett, Robert Harron, George Seigmann, Mansfield Stanley, Rosemary Theby, Gloria Hope, and other players who appeared in “Hearts of the World.”

When England Woke - Picture-Play Magazine (Sep 1918)
When England Woke – Picture-Play Magazine (Sep 1918)
Griffith and the Great War 3
Griffith and the Great War 3
The Great Love, Lillian Gish and Henry Walthall
The Great Love, Lillian Gish and Henry Walthall
Lillian Gish - The Great Love (1918)
Lillian Gish – The Great Love (1918)

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The Filming of “Way Down East” – By Charles Gatchell (Picture Play Magazine August 1920)

Griffith Studios - Picture-Play Magazine (Aug 1920)
Griffith Studios – Picture-Play Magazine (Aug 1920)

Picture Play Magazine August 1920 Vol. XII No.6

The Filming of “Way Down East”

For six months D. W. Griffith has been at work on what promises to be another of his monumental productions. The following is an impression of the immensity of the undertaking, and of the peculiar method by which the dean of directors works.

By Charles Gatchell

ON the north shore of Long Island Sound, not far from New York City, there is an estate of sloping lawns shaded by giant elms, on which Henry M. Flagler, the former Florida railroad magnate once planned to have erected what he hoped would be the most beautiful country home in America. It was to have been a monument to the success of a multimillionaire, as distinctively the last word in dwellings of its kind as the Woolworth Building and tower was the last word in its type of city architecture. On this same estate, D. W. Griffith is now completing a film production which I believe will be, in, its way, a monumental work, the last word in a certain phase through which motion pictures are passing; a phase which is marked by the purchase, at fabulous prices, of the great stage successes of former days, and of their transformation, by amazing expenditures of time and care and money into plays for the screen. The play in question is “Way Down East,” a vehicle well chosen for such an endeavor, for the record of its phenomenal run still stands unbeaten by any similar stage production, and the purchase price of one hundred and seventy-five thousand dollars for the screen rights stands, at this writing, as the top figure for such a transaction. Impressive as this figure is, the story of its filming is, to me, even more impressive. I shall not attempt to tell the entire story of this undertaking, but  I am going to endeavor to show something of the infinite pains with which the work is being done by the impressions of a single day spent at the Griffith studio.

It was a day set apart for work on interior scenes, which were to be filmed on the set representing the dining room and kitchen in the old New England home of the Bartlett family.

The set, which stood in the center of the spacious studio, was, to all appearances, complete to the last finishing touch. The fire-stained pots and kettles hung above the charred logs that lay across the andirons. All the rustic properties from the Seth Thomas clock to the farmer’s almanac had been carefully put in place as indicated on the detailed sketch. Twelve of these sketches had been made, from which but one was to be chosen ; twelve finished pieces of work, each a different design, combining, together, all of the most characteristic bits of home atmosphere which Mr. Griffith’s art director, an Oxford-trained authority on architecture and design, had found in a trip through New England. I was later to learn that before this set finally had been decided upon as satisfactory, four other sets previously had been built and torn down. Any one accustomed to the methods of other producers would have concluded, from the appearance of the studio, that everything was ready for action. From overhead, the set was bathed in the diffused light of the Kliegs. Through the open doorway at the right entrance came a flood of yellow sunshine thrown by that marvelous invention, the sun-ray arc, whose beams reproduce so literally those from which they take their name that if they shine upon you for long you will be burned as you would be by midsummer sunshine. Standing in place, ready for the long interior shots, were the two motion-picture cameras, manned by the camera men and their assistants, while nearby was stationed the “still” photographer with his big bellows camera.

DW Griffith - Mamaroneck NY - Way Down East
DW Griffith filming team – Mamaroneck NY – Way Down East

As a final indication that all was in readiness for action, Mr. Griffith, who was personally directing the production, had taken his position in the open space between the cameras and the front of the set—a distinctive figure—his rugged height accentuated by the short raincoat which hung, cape-wise, over his broad shoulders, and by the large derby hat which, tipped far back on his head, vaguely suggested the pictures of the Mad Hatter in “Alice in Wonderland.”

"Way Down East" - Lillian Gish
“Way Down East” – Lillian Gish and D.W. Griffith on set

But no command was given to the waiting camera men. There was no expectant hush, as when a conductor mounts the dais before an orchestra. The members of the cast, fully costumed and made up, knowing the methods of their chief, stood or sat about in little groups, as they had for several days, patiently waiting. The studio orchestra, for no particular reason was softly playing “Turkey in the Straw,” to which Martha Perkins, a prim and severe-looking New England spinster, was executing, with grotesque solemness, a very creditable, though strangely incongruous, buck-and-wing shuffle. The atmosphere of the entire studio was that of a highly trained organization, ready to spring to instant action, but resigned to await the order, forever, if need be. “I don’t quite like that door,” said Griffith, suddenly breaking the silence he had maintained for several minutes. He called for one of the decorators. “It looks too new,” he explained. “The edge of it, don’t you know, in a house like this, would be worn down, and the paint darkened near the knob by years of use.”

Lillian Gish and Richard Barthelmess - filming Way Down East - Picture-Play Magazine (Aug 1920)
Lillian Gish and Richard Barthelmess – filming Way Down East – Picture-Play Magazine (Aug 1920)

The decorator nodded understandingly and started for his tools. “Be careful not to batter it up any,” Griffith called after him. “I don’t want anything to look mistreated, but to have just the appearance of long years of careful use.”

“Now, how about those chairs?” he went on, addressing the art director this time. He walked on to the set, seated himself in a rocker, rose, and returned. “That chair’s comfortable enough, but it doesn’t look comfortable enough for the effect I want. I want this room to radiate from every last touch the feeling of being homelike—a home of comfort and welcome and coziness. Let’s get some cushions for the backs of the chairs.” The art director groaned. “A hundred dollars’ more time to be charged up while we put them on,” he began. “But we’ll do it,” he added hastily, as Griffith gave him a look that said, “Huh — a lot I care about a hundred dollars’ worth of time, or ten hundred dollars’ worth, if I get the result I’m after.” “Now let’s see,” he went on. “There’s something lacking—something—I know. It’s flowers ! Oh, Miss Gish, how does the idea of having some flowers on the table or on the mantelpiece strike your feminine taste?”

Lillian Gish and Richard Barthelmess - in a scene from Way Down East
Lillian Gish and Richard Barthelmess – in a scene from Way Down East

Lillian Gish, who has had some experience of her own as a director, looked thoughtful for a moment, and then voiced her approval. By this time several decorators were at work again on the set, making the changes that had been suggested. But Griffith was not yet satisfied. I am not going to attempt the tedious task of recounting in detail the suggestions that followed, but for the rest of the morning—the work had begun at about ten o’clock —one thing after another was criticized, discussed, and debated ; scarcely a detail of the set was overlooked.

Actress Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess, Kate Bruce, D.W. Griffith, Mrs. David Landau, Burr McIntosh, Lowell Sherman in a scenne from the movie Way Down East
Actress Lillian Gish, Richard Barthelmess, Kate Bruce, D.W. Griffith, Mrs. David Landau, Burr McIntosh, Lowell Sherman in a scene from the movie Way Down East

The floor, it was decided, was a shade too light, and the painters were set to work on it again. The bunches of seed corn were taken down from the ceiling beam on which they had hung, and were tried in almost every possible place from which they could be suspended. The pots in the broad fireplace were rearranged. The figured tablecloth was removed and replaced by a plain white one. And not until the technical staff had received enough instructions to last them until late into the afternoon did Griffith consent to consider the work as even temporarily completed. “This business of getting the exact pictorial effect is of the greatest importance,” he said when at last he left off, and walked over to where I had stood watching him work. “And it might interest you to know that I believe that to be a matter to which the average dramatic critic who is sent out to review pictures is somewhat blind. “Your dramatic critic obviously doesn’t pay much attention to stage pictures,” he went on, speaking earnestly and with emphasis. “In the spoken drama the pictures are only incidental. At the best they are poor reproductions of nature, mere backgrounds which may even be dispensed with. So your critic devotes his attention—and rightly so—to the play—the drama—the story, if you will.

"Way Down East" - Lillian Gish
“Way Down East” – Lillian Gish and the eccentric aunt

“But a moving-picture production is a different thing. It lacks the chief element of the stage play—the spoken word. It is—or should be—as its very name implies, a series of wonderful moving pictures. The values you see are completely reversed. But does your dramatic critic recognize that? Usually he does not. He comes and views our work with but one of his two eyes. He looks upon it from the same point of view from which he considers a stage play.

“Take, for example, my picture, ‘The Idol Dancer.’ ” There was a note of impatience in his voice. “We went to such great trouble and expense to reproduce a certain phase of nature and of life, and I think we succeeded in our attempt. But the reviewers, many of them, dismissed that succession of beautiful screen paintings with a word, and spoke disparagingly of the story. Perhaps the story was not unusual, perhaps it was slight. Should they, on that account, dismiss the entire production as of little consequence?” Moved by the eloquence of the Griffith argument, I shook my head in mute agreement—though I could not help thinking, at the same time, that I had heard a good many persons who were not dramatic critics speak disparagingly of “The Idol Dancer” and many another production, finely wrought from a pictorial standpoint, because the story had not satisfied them. But I was of no mind to argue the matter; moreover, I felt, at least, respectfully inclined toward this point of view, which, it occurred to me, I had never given much consideration. “For myself,” Griffith went on, after a moment’s pause, “I hold that if we but reproduce beautifully one single effect of the movement of the wind upon the water, the swaying branches of a tree, or even an etching on the screen of the wrinkled face of an old man in the shadows, we have done something that the stage, at its best, cannot do, and something which, in itself, is an artistic achievement. “I do not mean to disparage in the least the value of a good story,” he added, “I merely offer a protest against the ignoring of every other phase of a production by some of our reviewers. Do I make myself clear ?” he concluded abruptly, with a smile and a whimsical bow, as though apologizing for having delivered so serious a lecture.

"Way Down East" - Lillian Gish
“Way Down East” – Lillian Gish – Final scene, rescued from the blizzard

I replied that he did, and it occurred to me that what he had said was worth setting down and remembering, as a means of understanding better what Griffith is striving to attain in the making of a picture. “While we’re waiting for the set I am going to hold a rehearsal, and if you care to see it ” Griffith said, with the courtesy and cordiality which is shared by the entire personnel of his studio. A Griffith rehearsal was something which I had wanted to see for some time, and I followed him and the members of the cast into the old Flagler home, which would not be standing to-day, had its former owner’s dream materialized. This rambling old mansion connects with the studio proper ; it is used for dressing rooms, and by the executive and scenario staffs. The rehearsal was to be held in the former state dining room of the late magnate, a magnificent room overlooking the sparkling waters of the Sound, its massive walls hung with dark, rich, hand-tooled leather, and its ceiling decorated by carved beams brought from Europe. And there, where groups of men representing the wealth of the nation had often gathered to dine, a company of actors ranged themselves about an imaginary table, prepared to enact a dinner scene in a humble, old-fashioned country home. They were far from being humble folk, though, these actors.

"Way Down East" - Lillian Gish
“Way Down East” – Richard Barthelmess and Lillian Gish

Lillian Gish and Richard Barthelmess, two of the regular Griffith players who have the principal roles, on the completion of this production are to begin separate starring engagements with salaries that will place them in the first rank of featured screen players. Creighton Hale, who plays a character part, has been a wellknown star. And the other members of the cast, who were engaged solely for this production, had been chosen with more care than the furnishings of the famous room in which they had gathered.  ccustomed as I was by this time to the convincing evidence of the infinite pains which were being taken in this production, it hardly seemed credible—though I was assured of this by Mr. Griffith’s personal aid—that a list of nearly one hundred actors had been considered in the selection of the man who was to play the part of Lennox Sanderson, the villain of the piece, and that before the part had finally been given to Lowell Sherman — who is playing a similar role in “The Sign on the Door,” an all-year Broadway stage success—twenty-eight other actors had actually been tried out. The rehearsal was but a variation of the Griffith method which I had previously seen applied to rearranging the details of the set in order to heighten the desired effect, or feeling. This time the action, which the players evidently had rehearsed many times before, was criticized and altered in as minute detail, with the same object in view. Each bit of business, each expression, each gesture was done over, time after time, to give everything its proper relative value and emphasis in perfecting the effect, the feeling, which Griffith had in mind, and toward which he was patiently striving.

"Way Down East" - Lillian Gish
“Way Down East” – Lillian Gish and Richard Barthelmess

He was like a composer who, having written a piece of music, was going over the score, indicating the accents, the tempo, the mood of expression. “I want this scene to he played smoothly—smoothly—smoothly,” he said to Barthelmess and Miss Gish, as they were working over a tiny bit of action. And I felt that I was beginning to understand, better than I ever had before, how, through his shadow pictures, he is able so skillfully to play upon the emotions, the feelings, of an audience. Luncheon followed the rehearsal. It was a leisurely sort of “family affair,” quite in keeping with the general atmosphere of the studio. I should like to visit the Griffith studio often, just to join the company at luncheon. I sat” at a small table with Mr. Griffith’s personal aid and listened to a recital of incidents and figures concerning the filming of “Way Down East,” which would be almost unbelievable were they not backed up by the knowledge of Griffith’s former undertakings. “This picture,” said my host, “is Mr. Griffith’s first personal production for the United Artists, and, of course, we hope to see it mark another step in the development of motion pictures, as so many of Mr. Griffith’s pictures have done in the past—though, of course, the proof of the puddding is in the eating,” he added hastily, as he laid own his fork, and solemnly knocked on the underside of the table. “But if effort counts for anything ” He paused for a moment. “No one not intimately connected with this production can really appreciate the effort that is being expended on it ; yet, perhaps I can give you a tabloid impression of the mere hugeness of the undertaking. “Already more time has elapsed since we began in January than was spent on any Griffith production since ‘Hearts of the World,’ and even more time than on that one if you  liminate the months spent on the battlefields of France. Yet the picture is by no means near completion. It will not be finished before midsummer.” lie paused, while I gulped that impressive statement down with a swallow of coffee.

Burr MackIntosh - Scene from Way Down East
Burr MackIntosh (Squire Bartlett) and Lillian Gish – Scene from Way Down East

“Our vouchers show,” he went on, “that scouts traveled six thousand miles in the mere preliminary work of obtaining photographs of New England life. Pictures of every sort were taken, including photographs of about four hundred New England homes. “Eve no idea of how many scenes will appear in the completed production, but for the interior scenes alone forty-four different sets will be used. There were three, you may recall, in the stage version. “Up to date two hundred and ten reels of film have been exposed, and the greatest number of times that any one scene has been taken is only thirty-one.” He said this as though it were a mere commonplace to photograph one scene thirty-one times. “But none of the really important close-ups have been taken yet,” he added. “Those always require much more patient effort in order to get a perfect result.”

"Way Down East" - Lillian Gish
“Way Down East” – (cast and crew) – center front – D.W. Griffith

“And the cost?” I inquired feebly. “Oh, six hundred and fifty thousand dollars, according to the present budget,” he replied, as though that were the least important item. Luncheon finished, we returned to the studio. But the alterations on the dining-room set were not nearly completed, so, after watching Dorothy Gish work in another part of the studio for a while, I came back and chatted with Lillian, who is as etherial and appealing in person as she is in shadow.

"Way Down East" - Lillian Gish
“Way Down East” – Lillian Gish (rescued) and all cast except Lowell Sherman (Lennox Sanderson)

“I hope,” she said, “that the snow scenes will be worth the suffering they cost us. I don’t think I ever experienced anything as severe as what we went through. Some days it was so cold that the cameras froze, and we had to stop work. We were out in blizzards for hours until, some nights, it was hours and hours before I felt really warm, though I was home early in the evening.” She was interrupted by another call for the company to assemble. The workmen had finished the alterations. But the call did not include the camera men. The scenes which had been worked over so painstakingly in the rehearsal room now were to be rehearsed again—a dress rehearsal, as it were. And, as a bus was just leaving for the station, I thought it best to start back for New York. I shall be interested in seeing “Way Down East,” interested in seeing what the reviewers say about it, and even more interested in seeing whether or not it will take its place as another of the Griffith milestones along the march of progress of the motion picture. For in predicting that it will be a monumental work, I do not mean to prophesy that it will mark a distinct step in picture making as did “The Birth of a Nation” and “Broken Blossoms.” That remains to be seen. But it must be obvious to any one who has read this account, that as an example of the present phase of frenzied scrambling and high bidding for popular plays and novels, to be turned into lavishly produced and sensationally exploited pictures, this production of “Way Down East” must tower above most, if not – all similar endeavors, at least as a huge undertaking. A strange undertaking, in a way, too ; strange that such an attempt should be made to make a monumental thing out of this simple, homely play ; it seems almost as incongruous as though some one were to try to develop “The Old Oaken Bucket” into a grand opera. But there is something splendidly audacious about these big undertakings of Griffith, about every one of them. He is a very canny combination of showman and artist combined. He knows pretty well what type of thing will catch and hold the public interest at any given time, and I have a shrewd idea that he had his hand on the pulse of the movie-going public when he chose this vehicle for the first of his new series, and decided to “go the limit” on it. So, without having seen a foot of the finished film, I shall venture one more prophecy—that “Way Down East” in its revival on the screen will repeat the wonderful record which it made on the stage, two decades ago.

Griffith on the ice floes - Picture-Play Magazine (Aug 1920)
DW Griffith on the ice floes – Picture-Play Magazine (Aug 1920)

New Lyceum Theatre Baltimore - Way Down East Program 1

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Broken Blossoms – By Peter Milne (Picture Play Magazine – 1919)

Picture Play Magazine – August 1919 Vol. X No. 6

The Screen in Review

Criticism and comment on recent releases, by one of New York’s leading authorities on matters pertaining to the screen.

 

print of a scene from D.W. Griffith's Broken Blossoms (1919) with Lillian Gish as Lucy Burrows and Richard Barthelmess as the Chinaman Cheng Huan
print of a scene from D.W. Griffith’s Broken Blossoms (1919) with Lillian Gish as Lucy Burrows and Richard Barthelmess as the Chinaman Cheng Huan

Broken Blossoms

By Peter Milne

“Broken Blossoms” marks a real advancement in the motion-picture art. Mr. Griffith has instituted something new in it at every angle from which a production usually is viewed. He brings a new style of photography which creates a more artistic effect than plain flat black-and-white work. He brings a new sort of drama, a new sort of production. “Broken Blossoms” is the simple tale of the lives of three people in London’s Chinatown.

Lucy Burrows on the Wharf (Broken Blossoms)
Lucy Burrows on the Wharf (Broken Blossoms)

The girl, daughter of a brutal prize fighter, who beats her mercilessly whenever he is drunk —which is often—is protected by a Chinaman who has long loved her from afar. After one particularly severe beating she receives from her father the Chinaman finds her and takes her to his room, where he bathes the poor bruised body and dresses her in the finest silks. It is the only happiness that has ever come into her life, but its coming is the heralding of her death, for her father suddenly discovers that he has “parental” rights, and, his rage unbounded, he seeks her out and spoils her little moment of satisfaction.

Lillian Gish and Donald Crisp in Broken Blossoms
Lillian Gish and Donald Crisp in Broken Blossoms

Tragic as the entire picture is, it appeals to all our finer emotions, and, with the perfectly splendid production that Griffith has given it, it deserves to rank with the finest achievements of the screen. The scenes of London’s Chinatown are marvelous in their realism. Lillian Gish fairly lives the part of the girl, and expresses the tragedy of the empty life with a wonderful characterization. Richard Barthelmess, as the Chinaman, invests the part with a touch of the mystic, of the romantic, that establishes him as a hero far better than wavy hair and good clothes ever did a matinee idol. Donald Crisp returns to the screen from directing to play the fighter, and brings out the coarse brutality of the father to a degree.

Lillian Gish and Richard Barthelmess - Broken Blossoms
Lillian Gish and Richard Barthelmess – Broken Blossoms

Photo Gallery:

Broken Blossoms – The Movie

 

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How I Saw “Hearts of the World” – By Marguerite Sheridan (Picture Play Magazine 1918)

Lillian Gish and The Little Disturber (Dorothy) - Hearts of The World
Lillian Gish and The Little Disturber (Dorothy) – Hearts of The World

Picture Play Magazine Vol. VIII July, 1918 No. 5

How I Saw “Hearts of the World”

Seated beside Lillian and Dorothy Gish, their guest for the evening, the writer witnessed the first public performance of the new Griffith masterpiece. This is an account of her impressions of that event.

By Marguerite Sheridan

Movies in America - David Wark Griffith
Movies in America – David Wark Griffith

GRIFFITH Night in Los Angeles! For months to come, “Hearts of the World,” the latest and mightiest work of this wizard of the cinematographic art, will continue to shine forth in all its wonder, its pathos, and its infinite charm, through the lenses of hundreds of projection machines in every city in the country, but in no place will it be the all – important event that was the premier showing in “The City of the “Angels.” Just as the master producer gave them “The Birth of a Nation” and “Intolerance” before even staid New York and the slightly less critical Chicago were allowed a peep, so was the first glimpse of this—”the sweetest love story ever told”—staged among the ruins of war torn France, accorded to his California friends. Before I tell you of this night of nights, let us go back a few days and journey out to the studio, where we will watch Griffith at work putting the finishing touches to “The Picture,” as it was called in an most awe-struck tone by everyone around the studio. Mrs. Gish, mother of the two lovely young girls who play the leading feminine roles in ‘Hearts of the World,” telephoned me that Lillian and Dorothy were at the studio that afternoon, and we would drive out about two o’clock. The exterior of the old Mutual – Reliance, Majestic, Fine Arts studio, out on Sunset Boulevard, was a keen disappointment to me. Perhaps I was looking for a cross between the San Francisco Exposition and Lincoln Park. Anyway, the huge pile of shacks, with a few Babylonian towers silhouetted against the sky, was not my idea of the proper place for D. W. Griffith, Lillian and Dorothy Gish and Bobby Harron to perpetuate their art. The girls were in their dressing room, attired in their “Hearts of the World” costumes, Dorothy in her “Little Disturber” gown, and Lillian in one of her bomb shattered frocks.

Hearts of The World
Hearts of The World

She had three copies of this same dress, each a litt