We Interview the Two Orphans – Gladys Hall /Adele Whitely Fletcher

The Motion Picture Magazine 1922 – We Interview the Two Orphans

THE CAST

THE TWO ORPHANS

  • Henriette Lillian Gish
  • Louise ; Dorothy Gish
gish-sisters-in-orphans-of-the-storm Picture Show may-1922-part-3
gish-sisters-in-orphans-of-the-storm Picture Show may-1922-part-3

WE

  • First Interviewer Gladys Hall
  • Second Interviewer Adele Whitely Fletcher
Dorothy Gish, James Rennie and Lillian Gish
Dorothy Gish, James Rennie and Lillian Gish

A Husband James Rennie

  • Props include cakes and sandwitches and bon-bons;
  • flowers in pale vases, books by Bernard Shaw and other food, mental and physical.

 

Scene I.

—The softly tinted living-room in the Gish town apartment. The grey  walls are touched here and there, reflectively, with a few good prints. There are low, creampainted book-shelves—shelves that are filled. Intriguing volumes of fiction, old as well as new ; philosophy, travel, and a great deal of poetry. Deeply armed chairs are flanked by end-tables holding shaded lamps or a book which is being read. To one end of the room is a baby-grand. On it stands a bowl of early spring flowers and a portrait of Mrs. Gish with the two girls. Beyond the chintz-framed windows the roof-tops are growing fanciful in the twilight. It is teatime. Gladys Hall and Adele Whitely Fletcher are sitting to together in the recesses of a wide lounge, when Lillian Gish enters. They look up, hearing her soft, light footfalls on the rugs. She is wearing a quaint velvet gown, dull blue. Her corn-silk hair is brushed softly back. There is a wistful note in her voice : the note-you-know-is-there. The hand she offers in greeting is shy and sensitively welcoming. Lillian Gish : Dorothy will be in directly. She just came uptown from the Rennie apartment and is in with mother. Mother has been so ill. you know, and we have had to be out of town so much, attending the different premieres of “The Two Orphans.” Each week it has opened in a different city and together with the travel, it has meant two or three days in every instance. Three days out of a week leaves so little time to do the things one has to do.

Dorothy and Lillian Gish in Orphans of the Storm (United Artists, 1921). Autographed Photo
Dorothy and Lillian Gish in Orphans of the Storm (United Artists, 1921). Autographed Photo

Gladys Hall : Have all of the premieres been as enthusiastic as the New York one was?

A. W. F. {reflectively) : I know they have been. It is a really great picture.

Lillian Gish : There has been a great and general enthusiasm. I think it is the greatest thing Mr. Griffith has ever done.

A.W. F. : Greater than “Broken Blossoms”?

Lillian Gish : “Broken Blossoms” was so different. They are really not comparable. In Orphans of the Storm,” Mr. Griffith has done more than make a beautiful picture. He has made history live again. And no one in the picture was more important than anyone else. The least was the greatest ; a part of a stupendous whole.

orphans of the storm - lillian gish is henriette girard - promo wb

G. H. : Did you like being Henriette ?

Lillian Gish : Yes. Oh, very much. And it was different. I had to get my appeal in a different way than I have done in previous pictures. In “Broken Blossoms,” for instance, and in “Way Down East,” I had physical distress to help me out. My appeal was in a measure made for me. I always had something the matter with me. In one I was a poor, frail, half-living little thing and in the other a down-trodden, stormtossed girl. As Henriette I was well taken care of, beloved by the dashing Chevalier, watched over by Danton. Of course, I had lost my sister, but I was not sure that she was not well cared for, too. I had to make the loss of my sister and my instinctive fear for her overshadow my own personal well-being. That made Henriette a more difficult role than any I have yet played.

[A stir is heard in the hallway. Dorothy Gish Rennie stands there. Her dress is black and old blue, and hangs, cape-fashion, from her shoulders. One suspects Paris. She wears woolen stockings and her brown hair curls gishily about her ears. She advances . . . ]

dorothy gish - as photographed for - dorothy and lillian gish - by lillian gish 48

Dorothy Gish : Aha ! we meet again ! You make me remember the terrifying occasion of my first tea as Mrs. Rennie. Rememberhow nervous I was? Just sure I’d do the wrong thing. The whole family thought I would, too. Only Lillian had the nerve to appear and watch the social structure totter. I was so sure I would make some horrible blunder. In fact, I was sure of everything but the fudge . . . I made that! (To Lillian): Are we to have tea this afternoon? When people are interviewing you, Lillian, (this with deep solemnity), and you invite them at teatime, it is quite the proper thing to have tea ! Wrong again ! Here it is ! [The maid wheels in the tea-wagon. The edibles have been mentioned along with the dramatis personae. Lillian, curled in a chair, pours. Dorothy curls, but does not pour. The doorbell rings—and she starts . . . ]

Dorothy Gish : It is Jim, I know. He can scent teaa million miles away. He never misses it. The onlyfly in the Rennie domestic ointment is the breakfast tea. Jim gets quite cross about it. It is never right, it seems . . . (pensively).

Lillian (gently) : Jimmie should come here for his tea.

Dorothy {accusatively): Madam, are you trying to lure my husband from his fireside with tea? That it should come to this ! And in the family, too!

Dorothy Gish, husb James Rennie and Lillian Gish returning from Italy NY Times 1920

(Lillian smiles her threecornered, whimsical little smile at us, as who should say, “I s n ‘ t she a naughty child?”) [James Rennie, popular leading man of stage and screen, also popular husband of Dorothy Gish, enters. Dorothy, with wifely solicitude, offers him a meager share of her chair, which offer is promptly and also affectionately accepted.]

Lillian : Let me recommend the blonde cookies. Stella made them for us — fresh this

Dorothy {gravely) : Plainly, I must keep my eye on you ! You’ve been sampling them! First my husband . . -.. . and then the cookies!

‘… ,_ Lillian {coolly, smiling): Is your tea right, Jim? There is hot water here . . . sugar? Lemon?

J. R. : Quite right, thanks, Lillian.

Dorothy {with hauteur) : To save my peace of mind, then, you should be present at the Rennie breakfast to fix Jim’s tea.

G. H. {tea-singly) : Being sisters, how did it seem being sisters?

A. W. F. {with professional fraternity) : She means . . .

Dorothy Gish : Odd as it may seem, I get what she means. However—simple. Simple. Not her—but playing sisters. You see, we’ve done it so often, “Hearts of the World,” for instance. And anyway, I love playing with Lillian. Wasn’t she lovely as Henriette ? Will you ever to your dying day forget her love scene with the Chevalier?

G. H. and A. W. F. {in accord for the first time in their lives) : Never! Never in the world.

Lillian Gish {with that lovely little twist to the corners of her month) : Dorothy, do be quiet, dear. Please.

James Rennie {enthused) : And the suspense! That ride of Danton’s …

Dorothy Gish {comfortably ensconced on the arm of her husband’s chair) : Jim first saw the picture in the projection room with Lillian and me, and when they closed the gates before the onrushing Danton he said to me, “Henriette is dead so far as I’m concerned. Here’s where I leave. I cant be tortured any longer !”

Lillian {from behind the tea-cart, slim among the shadows) : You know, Jim and I had to fairly insist upon Dorothy playing Louise. She refused to do it when Mr. Griffith first asked her.

G. H. and A. W. F. {again in unison) : Why? Why’

Dorothy Gish : I felt it was so wonderful a role: that it should have everything that could be given to it. I’d been playing in almost a slapstick tempo, with no previous dramatic training whatsoever. I told Mr. Griffith that I thought I should do two or three dramatic things first, but there wasn’t time. I was terrified—afraid I’d ruin the picture—and, after we started, terrified to see the scenes run oft”. I thought I was terrible

Dorothy Gish - Orphans of the Storm

G. H. (receiving smiles and nods from Lillian and James Rennie) : You may say that now. We have seen. What shall you do next?

Dorothy (briskly) : Study for the stage, I think. At any rate, I shall take voice culture—have my voice placed, and all that. And then I’ll be on the lookout fur a play.

A. W. F. : What type of play?

Dorothy : Something along comedy-drama lines, with sentiment, I imagine.

G. H. (to Lillian) : And what shall you do next?

Lillian (gently) : I have no plans [G. H. and A. W. F. gather their wraps and rise to go. G. H. is carrying a copy of “Cytherea,” the new Hergesheimer novel. Lillian Gish espies it and remarks that there are two copies in the Gish family, but that as yet she has been unable to get one. She looks, with meaning, at Dorothy Gish Rennie.]

Lillian Gish and Dorothy Gish Henriette and Louise (Orphans of The Storm)
Lillian Gish and Dorothy Gish Henriette and Louise (Orphans of The Storm)

Dorothy Gish : All right—you may have one of the copies. I’m reading George Bernard Shaw’s “Back to Methuselah.” George Bernard Shaw is my idol. One evening when a guest of mine belittled him, I asked him to leave my table. That’s what I think of Shaw! (Lillian and James Rennie laugh.)

A. W. F. : Good-bye. The blonde cookies were good. So (regarding Mrs. Rennie) was the tea.

G. H. : Good-bye . . . Good-bye . . .

Lillian Gish (earnestly) : I do hope we said something which will help you. It doesn’t seem to me we’ve been very entertaining.

Dorothy : I think I have ! Anyway, I’ve done my best, than which no one can do more. I’m going to have another tea party at my house soon. Will you come? (Immediate and unanimous acceptance.) Fine. Good-bye.

James Rennie : Good-bye. Visit the Rennies sometime. Dont wait for the teaparty.

Motion Picture Magazine
Motion Picture Magazine

 

Scene II.

—The Interior of a Taxi.

G. H. : How lovely they are ! How simple ! How sweet ! No trace of professionalism

adulterates them! This afternoon will stand apart with me.

A. W. F. : But we’ll never get their personalities down on mere paper. As great as they are, one must feel it. It is less than concrete and very much more.

G. H. : In their simplicity lies their greatness.

A. W. F. (with detached hopefulness) : I’m going to the Rennie tea-party . . .

G. H. (briefly) : Foregone conclusion.

Orphans - Chevalier March - Music Sheet Wm Frederick Peters
Orphans – Chevalier March – Music Sheet Wm Frederick Peters

Back to Lillian Gish Home page

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.