LILLIAN GISH PERSONAL 30 HAIR ACCESSORIES Worn SIlent screen SOTHEBYS Vintage

$2,500.00 Buy It Now 16h 0m, FREE Shipping, eBay Money Back Guarantee

Seller: collectiblecollectiblecollectible (576) 100%, Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan, Ships to: US & many other countries, Item: 333020162268 Quite an unusual artifact. Obtained several years in ago in 1999 from Universal Studios Online Auction. Auction includes original receipt from the auction (auction bid and buyers address removed from image). This was also from Sothebys ARCADE AUCTIONS LOT156. Several of the hair accessories tagged with Sothebys tag. THE AUCTION AT SOETHEBYS WAS :Property from the Estate of Lillian Gish : auction, Friday, June 23, 1995 at 10:15 am.Author:Sotheby's (Firm)Publisher:New York : Sotheby's, 1995.Series:Sotheby's Arcade auctions, 1509. There are many items all from the estate of Lillian Gish from feathered items (deco), feathers, hair nets, wool flowers, and so much more. There are well over 30 items in this collection.These items must be exceptionally rare, and is certainly worthy of further research. My hope is that someone may be able to document its use in an early film from the Silent Screen era. Lillian Gish, the last of the great silent film stars, who performed for more than 85 years in movies, theater and television, died in her sleep on Saturday evening at her home in Manhattan. She was 99 years old. Her personal manager, James E. Frasher, said the cause was heart failure. "She was the same age as film," Mr. Frasher said. "They both came into the world in 1893." Miss Gish was still performing as recently as the late 1980's. In 1986, she appeared as Alan Alda's hilariously addled mother in "Sweet Liberty," and in 1987 she was widely praised for her sensitive portrayal of an indomitable old woman in "The Whales of August," which co-starred another movie legend, Bette Davis. Advocate of an Early Start "To become an actress, one cannot begin too soon," said Miss Gish, and she meant it, for she had made her acting debut at the age of 5. Under the guidance of the director D. W. Griffith, Miss Gish became the pre-eminent actress in silent films, appearing in classics like "The Birth of a Nation," "Intolerance," "Broken Blossoms" and "Way Down East." After performing in dozens of one- and two-reel silent movies (with running times of 10 or 20 minutes) and then in the longer Griffith epics, Miss Gish made a successful transition to the "talkies," and later into television. Between film and television roles, she also worked on the stage. In 1930 she starred as Helena in Jed Harris's Broadway production of Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya," and in 1973 she appeared as the nurse in Mike Nichols's revival of the play. She made her last Broadway appearance in 1975, in "A Musical Jubilee." Especially in her youth, Miss Gish evoked an aura of fragility, and hers was a vulnerable waiflike beauty. The renowned theatrical impresario David Belasco pronounced her "the most beautiful blonde I have ever seen." George Jean Nathan, the Broadway critic who courted Miss Gish without success for more than a decade, compared her to Eleonora Duse. Miss Gish, though not always in excellent health, was accustomed to hard work and took a no-nonsense view of her physical attributes. "I didn't care about being a beauty," she said in an interview in 1975. "I wanted to be an actress. When I was in the movies, I didn't care what I looked like, except for that image up there on the screen. I wanted to create beauty when it was necessary; that's an inner thing. But if all you have is a facade, it isn't interesting." Throughout her life Miss Gish remained singularly devoted to her mother and to her sister, Dorothy, who was younger, but who became an actress at about the same time Lillian did. Mrs. Gish died in 1948 after a long invalidism, and Dorothy Gish died in 1968. Miss Gish, who never married and who leaves no survivors, finally rejected Mr. Nathan's long series of marriage proposals, and said that a primary reason was his "seeming resentment" of her devotion to her family. She gave another reason for staying single: "Actresses have no business marrying. I always felt that being a successful wife was a 24-hour-a-day job. Besides, I knew such charming men: perhaps I didn't want to disillusion any of them." Lillian Diana Gish, a daughter of the former Mary Robinson McConnell and James Gish, was born on Oct. 14, 1893, in Springfield, Ohio. The family moved to Baltimore, where Mr. Gish became a partner in a candy store. Before the turn of the century, he abandoned his wife and two daughters. He died in 1911. Mrs. Gish took her daughters to New York City, rented an apartment on West 34th Street that was large enough to include two boarders, and began working in a department store. When Lillian was 5, a Gish boarder, an actress named Alice Niles, persuaded Mrs. Gish to let her take the child with her to act in a production of "In Convict's Stripes," which played one-night stands across the country. Lillian's salary was $10 a week. At the age of 4, Dorothy joined another touring troupe; so did Mrs. Gish. The Gishes were separated at least half of each year, and life was lonely for Lillian as she traveled constantly and shared squalid hotel rooms with other company members to save money. More than once, she nearly fell into the hands of Elbridge Gerry's Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, which was dedicated to protecting children who worked in sweatshop factories as well as on the stage. When the Gishes were together in New York, they shared quarters with Charlotte Smith, whose daughter Gladys was a bit player on Broadway. Lillian won the role of a dancer, a part that Gladys had hoped for, in Sarah Bernhardt's 1905 engagement on Broadway. She Knew Pickford As Gladys Smith In 1909, while visiting friends in Baltimore, Lillian and Dorothy dropped in to see a short film called "Lena and the Geese," and immediately recognized its star as Gladys Smith. The next year the sisters showed up at the Biograph film studios in Manhattan, at 11 East 14th Street, and asked to see Miss Smith. That very day Gladys Smith, who had changed her name to Mary Pickford, introduced the Gishes to D. W. Griffith, who at that time was churning out at least three one-reelers a week for Biograph. He took the sisters to a rehearsal hall, where he produced a revolver and began to shoot over their heads. He later explained that he wanted to see how they reacted. They evidently passed the fear test, for within hours they were playing small roles in "An Unseen Enemy." Each received $5. That was the beginning of an artistic collaboration between Lillian Gish and Griffith that lasted more than a decade. During that time Miss Gish appeared in dozens of Griffith's short films and starred in most of his critically and economically successful longer ones. In some films she played bit parts; in others, she played several roles. Sometimes she was the star. All of Griffith's Biograph actors were moved around in this way: it was not until after the success of "The Birth of a Nation" that any received on-screen credit. One Source of Pride: Doing Own Stunts Miss Gish was proud of the fact that she became an accomplished horseback rider, and performed her own stunts in dangerous scenes. She also learned to edit film, set up lights and pick costumes, and she directed two films for Biograph, one of which starred her sister, Dorothy. During most of her years with Griffith, Miss Gish and the rest of the Griffith company of actors and technicians divided their time between New York and Los Angeles. In 1913, when Griffith joined Mutual Productions, Miss Gish, her sister and many other artists at Biograph moved with him. Miss Gish starred in his first Mutual film, "The Battle of the Sexes," in 1914. Securing financial backing for "The Birth of a Nation," a Civil War epic and a milestone in the history of the motion picture, was a major battle for Griffith, for the movie's costs constantly outstripped the budget estimates. It was said to have cost $300,000. First released in February 1915, under the title "The Clansman," the film ran an unheard-of two hours and was shown at first in only a handful of road-show theaters, to the musical accompaniment of a 30-piece orchestra. Customers paid $2 to see what soon became known as "The Birth of a Nation." Despite the high admission price, the picture was a great hit. "In it I played Elsie, the sweet and virginal daughter of the family around which the action was built," Miss Gish said in 1975. "I played so many frail, downtrodden little virgins in the films of my youth that I sometimes think I invented that stereotype of a role." Miss Gish's role in Griffith's "Intolerance" (1916) was small. Griffith had envisioned the film as his ultimate contribution to the motion-picture art, but he was forced to trim it drastically on the insistence of his creditors. Many other stars of the day, including Constance Talmadge, Bessie Love and Erich von Stroheim, made brief appearances. Propaganda Films For World War I During World War I, the Gish sisters went with Griffith to Europe to make propaganda films, among them the immensely successful "Hearts of the World" (1918). By that time, Griffith had joined Adolph Zukor's company, which later became Paramount Pictures. Hendrick Sartov, the still photographer for "Hearts of the World," eventually became a cinematographer for Griffith and invented for Miss Gish the "Lillian Gish lens," now called a soft-focus lens, which gives its subject a warmly blurred appearance. In the fall of 1919, Griffith moved his entire company to Mamaroneck, N.Y., where he built his own movie studio on a huge estate. It was there, and on locations in New England, that he filmed Miss Gish's popular melodrama "Way Down East," released in 1920. Miss Gish wrote in her autobiography that she volunteered to perform the dangerous climactic scene in that film, in which the heroine, lying on the ice floe in a freezing river, is headed for almost certain doom over a waterfall. The frail-looking Miss Gish lay on the floe, her hair and one of her hands trailing in the frigid water. "My face was caked with a crust of snow and ice, and little spikes formed on my eyelashes, making it difficult to keep my eyes open," she recalled. "It was a delicious scene, one of my really favorites, but I remember being cold for days afterward." "Orphans of the Storm," a French-Revolution melodrama released in 1922, was Griffith's last financially successful picture and, perhaps not coincidentally, the last Miss Gish made for him. "With all the expenses I have, I can't afford to pay you what you're worth," he told her. "You should go out on your own." With heavy investments of her own money, she then made two successful movies in Italy, "The White Sister" and "Romola." In the mid-1920's Miss Gish became embroiled in a long legal battle with Charles Duell, a socialite who had been her financial adviser (and, as she said in 1975, "sort of my Svengali"), over sums he claimed she owed him. Miss Gish munched carrots during the trial, and newspaper photographs of her stirred a carrot-chomping fad across the country. Americans had become enchanted with the new artistic aristocracy, made up of movie stars like Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Rudolph Valentino and Miss Gish. Earlier, in a movie, when Miss Gish had pushed up the sides of her mouth with her fingers to demonstrate feigned happiness, the gesture became a much-copied fad. From the Silents To the Talkies Miss Gish made the transition from silents to talkies in 1930 in "One Romantic Night," with Rod LaRocque and Conrad Nagel. By that time, she had signed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. "My contract called for six pictures in two years, for which I was paid, I believe, a million dollars," she wrote. Miss Gish made a triumphant return to the stage in 1930 in "Uncle Vanya" on Broadway. In 1936 she played Ophelia to John Gielgud's Hamlet and Judith Anderson's Queen Gertrude, and in 1941 she began a record-breaking 66-week run in "Life With Father" in Chicago. In 1960, she starred in "All the Way Home" on Broadway. As Miss Gish grew older, roles were more difficult to come by, but she played in summer stock and in an occasional movie, like "The Comedians," "The Night of the Hunter" and "The Undefeated." An early recruit to television, she appeared in "Arsenic and Old Lace" with Helen Hayes and in Horton Foote's "Trip to Bountiful." Commenting on what was to be Miss Gish's last screen performance, in the 1987 "Whales of August," Vincent Canby wrote in The New York Times: "There's not a gesture or a line-reading that doesn't reflect her nearly three-quarters of a century in front of a camera. Scenes are not purloined when she's on screen." In 1920, Lillian Gish both delivered a landmark performance in D. W. Griffith’s Way Down East and directed her sister Dorothy in Remodelling Her Husband. This was her sole director credit in a career as a screen actor that began with An Unseen Enemy in 1912 and ended with The Whales of August in 1987. Personal correspondence examined by biographer Charles Affron shows that Gish lobbied Griffith for the opportunity to direct and approached the task with enthusiasm. In 1920 in Motion Picture Magazine, however, Gish offered the following assessment of her experience: “There are people born to rule and there are people born to be subservient. I am of the latter order. I just love to be subservient, to be told what to do” (102). One might imagine that she discovered a merely personal kink. In a Photoplay interview that same year, however, she extended her opinion to encompass all women and in doing so slighted Lois Weber, one of Hollywood’s most productive directors. “I am not strong enough” to direct, Gish told Photoplay, “I doubt if any woman is. I understand now why Lois Weber was always ill after a picture” (29). What should historical criticism do with such evidence? Lillian (a/d/w) and Dorothy Gish. USWLillian (a/d/w) and Dorothy Gish. USW By far the most common approach has been to argue that Gish did not really mean what the press quotes her as saying. Alley Acker, for instance, urges us not to be fooled by Gish’s “Victorian modesty” and goes on to provide evidence of her authority on the set (62). Similarly, Affron argues that Gish’s assertions of subservience were partly self-serving. Self-effacement contributed to her star persona as “D. W. Griffith’s virginal, ethereal muse” (15). Gish cultivated this image throughout her career, and Affron finds it exemplified by the oft-repeated story of her masochistic performance in Way Down East’s 1920 ice floe rescue. A different Gish surfaces in an interview with Anthony Slide first published in 1970. There we encounter a decisive and resourceful woman who surmounted extraordinary practical difficulties in directing Remodelling Her Husband. In addition to directing, Griffith gave her the job of supervising completion of a new studio in Mamaroneck, New York. Neither subservience nor modesty inflect Gish’s assessment of the results: “We finished at 58 thousand dollars, and it made, I think, ten times what it cost, which not many films do today” (Slide 1977, 124). Gish also told Slide that she had wanted to make an “all-woman picture” and had recruited Dorothy Parker to write the titles. In the film, Dorothy Gish portrays a young wife who reforms her philandering husband by leaving him to work in her father’s business. Unfortunately, neither Affron nor Slide has been able to confirm Parker’s role, and no print is known to survive. Lillian Gish Albin (d/a) 1922. USWLillian Gish (a/d/w) 1922. USW When the biographical approach emphasizes the difference between Gish’s public persona and her private ambition, it invites us to see her demurral as a clever tactic. By identifying with “the weaker sex” she turns a low expectation of women to her own advantage. That Gish left behind such a large volume of paper makes this hypothesis extremely tempting. Not only have there been numerous published accounts of her life, but her papers, available through the New York Public Library, include personal correspondence, business documents, and scrapbooks spanning the years 1909–1992. In addition, her correspondence with Anthony Slide is available through the Margaret Herrick Library. These sorts of sources urge us to seek a more complicated woman behind the public star persona. Lillian Gish (d/a), PCMCLillian Gish (a/d/w), PCMC A different source might shift focus to the terms of public discourse and allow us to ask if these terms were as conventionally fixed as the search for the private woman can make it appear. For instance, the Paramount-Famous Players press book (which suggested stories for exhibitors to plant in local papers) provides not one but two different ways to promote Remodelling Her Husband, the famous actress’s directorial debut. The first approach resembles the above-quoted Photoplay and Moving Picture Magazinearticles, emphasizing Lillian’s “delicate physique” and her decision to abandon directing as too rigorous an endeavor. The second strategy, however, foregrounds her “prowess” and presents Dorothy as cajoling Lillian into the director’s chair. The studio publicity department thus promoted directing as something women might encourage their sisters to do while at the same time presenting women directors as an aberration in a profession that required masculine strength and discipline. How this apparently contradictory message played itself out in the trade press and the nation’s newspapers wants further explanation. Lillian Gish Albin (d/a) New York, 1922, LoCLillian Gish (a/d/w) New York, 1922. USW One could also take Gish’s remarks literally. After all, she advocates what would become the normative division of labor—women act, men direct—at a time when it was not clear that these work rules would, in fact, prevail. Similarly, while her praise of Griffith’s genius helped to ensure that her own contributions would be central to the story of American motion pictures, such veneration also promoted a particular version of historical events. By all accounts, Gish relished the role of spokesperson for silent film, and perhaps more work should consider her role as historian, critic, and theorist. Certainly Antonia Lant and Ingrid Periz aim to encourage such consideration by including Gish’s Encyclopedia Britannica article, “A Universal Language,” in their collection of women’s writing about the first fifty years of cinema. Echoes of Gish’s argument in that piece may be found in her less-known 1930 essay, “In Defense of the Silent Film.” With its conclusion that “Until the cinema returns from its prodigal excursion into sound it cannot expect to resume its logical development as an independent art” (230), the essay invites comparison with classic laments about the transition to sound from such filmmakers and film theorists as Bela Balazs, Rudolf Arnheim, Sergei Eisenstein, Vsevolod Pudovkin, and Grigori Alexandrov. In the essay, Lillian Gish writes with authority from her experience as an actor and names a wide range of directors she considers important—all of them men. Lillian Diana Gish[1] (October 14, 1893 – February 27, 1993) was an American actress of the screen and stage,[2] as well as a director and writer whose film acting career spanned 75 years, from 1912 in silent film shorts to 1987. Gish was called the First Lady of American Cinema, and she is credited with pioneering fundamental film performing techniques.[3] Gish was a prominent film star of the 1910s and 1920s, particularly associated with the films of director D. W. Griffith, including her leading role in the highest-grossing film of the silent era, Griffith's seminal The Birth of a Nation (1915). At the dawn of the sound era, she returned to the stage and appeared in film infrequently, including well-known roles in the controversial western Duel in the Sun (1946) and the offbeat thriller The Night of the Hunter (1955). She also did considerable television work from the early 1950s into the 1980s and closed her career playing opposite Bette Davis in the 1987 film The Whales of August. In her later years Gish became a dedicated advocate for the appreciation and preservation of silent film. Gish is widely considered to be the greatest actress of the silent era, and one of the greatest actresses in cinema history. Despite being better known for her film work, Gish was also an accomplished stage actress, and she was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 1972.[4] Contents [hide] 1Early life2Career2.1Early career2.2Film stardom at Biograph Studios (1912–1925)2.3 Work with MGM (1925–1928)2.4 Sound debut, return to the stage, and television and radio2.5Radio3 Honors4Personal life5Death6Legacy7In popular culture8Filmography9 Books10Documentaries about Gish11See also12References13External linksEarly life[edit] Dorothy and Lillian Gish with actress Helen Ray,[5] their leading lady in Her First False Step (1903)Gish was born in Springfield, Ohio, to Mary Robinson McConnell (1875–1948) (an Episcopalian) and James Leigh Gish (1872–1912) (who was of German Lutheran descent).[6] She had a younger sister, Dorothy, who also became a popular movie star. The first several generations of Gishes were Dunkard ministers. Her great-great-great-grandfather came to America on the ship Pennsylvania Merchant in 1733 and received a land grant from William Penn. Her great-great-grandfather fought in the American Revolutionary War and is buried in a cemetery in Pennsylvania for such soldiers. Letters between Gish and a Pennsylvania college professor indicate that her knowledge of her family background was limited. Gish's father was an unreliable alcoholic. When he left the family, her mother took up acting to support them. The family moved to East St. Louis, Illinois, where they lived for several years with Lillian's aunt and uncle, Henry and Rose McConnell. Their mother opened the Majestic Candy Kitchen, and the girls helped sell popcorn and candy to patrons of the old Majestic Theater, located next door. The girls attended St. Henry's School, where they acted in school plays. The girls were living with their aunt Emily in Massillon, Ohio, when they were notified by their uncle that their father, James, was gravely ill in Oklahoma. Lillian traveled to Shawnee, Oklahoma, to see her father, who by then was institutionalized in an Oklahoma City hospital. She saw him briefly and stayed with her aunt and uncle, Alfred Grant and Maude Gish, in Shawnee and attended school there. She wrote to her sister Dorothy that she was thinking of staying and finishing high school and then going to college, but she missed her family. Her father died in Norman, Oklahoma, January 9, 1912, and, soon after, Lillian returned to Ohio. When the theater next to the candy store burned down, the family moved to New York, where the girls became good friends with a next-door neighbor, Gladys Smith. Gladys was a child actress who did some work for director D. W. Griffith and later took the stage name Mary Pickford.[7] When Lillian and Dorothy were old enough, they joined the theatre, often traveling separately in different productions. They also took modeling jobs, with Lillian posing for artist Victor Maurel in exchange for voice lessons.[8] In 1912, their friend Mary Pickford introduced the sisters to Griffith and helped get them contracts with Biograph Studios. Lillian Gish would soon become one of America's best-loved actresses. Although she was already 19, she gave her age as 16 to the studio.[9] Gish had German, Scottish and English ancestry. Career[edit]Early career[edit][icon]This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (November 2015)Gish made her stage debut in 1902, at The Little Red School House in Rising Sun, Ohio. From 1903 to 1904, Lillian toured in Her First False Step, with her mother and Dorothy. The following year, she danced with a Sarah Bernhardt production in New York City. Film stardom at Biograph Studios (1912–1925)[edit] Lillian Gish in Broken Blossoms (1919) Lillian Gish as Anna Moore in D. W. Griffith's Way Down East (1920) Photoplay magazine cover by Rolf Armstrong (1921)After 10 years of acting on the stage, she made her film debut opposite Dorothy in Griffith's short film An Unseen Enemy (1912). At the time established thespians considered "the flickers" a rather base form of entertainment, but she was assured of its merits. Gish continued to perform on the stage, and in 1913, during a run of A Good Little Devil, she collapsed from anemia. Lillian would take suffering for her art to the extreme in a film career which became her obsession. One of the enduring images of Gish's silent film years is the climax of the melodramatic Way Down East, in which Gish's character floats unconscious on an ice floe towards a raging waterfall, her long hair and hand trailing in the water. Her performance in these frigid conditions gave her lasting nerve damage in several fingers. Similarly, when preparing for her death scene in La Bohème over a decade later, Gish reportedly did not eat and drink for three days beforehand, causing the director to fear he would be filming the death of his star as well as of the character. Lillian starred in many of Griffith's most acclaimed films, including The Birth of a Nation (1915), Intolerance (1916), Broken Blossoms (1919), Way Down East (1920), and Orphans of the Storm (1921). Griffith utilized Lillian's expressive talents to the fullest, developing her into a suffering yet strong heroine. Having appeared in over 25 short films and features in her first two years as a movie actress, Lillian became a major star, becoming known as "The First Lady of American Cinema" and appearing in lavish productions, frequently of literary works such as Way Down East. She became the most esteemed actress of budding Hollywood cinema. She directed her sister Dorothy in one film, Remodeling Her Husband (1920), when D. W. Griffith took his unit on location. He told Gish that he thought the crew would work harder for a girl. Gish never directed again, telling reporters at the time that directing was a man's job.[10] Unfortunately the film is now thought to be lost. Work with MGM (1925–1928)[edit]In 1925 Gish reluctantly ended her work with Griffith to take an offer from the recently formed MGM which gave her more creative control. MGM offered her a contract in 1926 for six films, for which she was offered 1 million dollars ($13.4 million in 2015 dollars). She turned down the money, requesting a more modest wage and a percentage so that the studio could use the funds to increase the quality of her films — hiring the best actors, screenwriters, etc. By the late silent era, Greta Garbo had usurped Gish as MGM's leading lady. Her contract with MGM ended in 1928. Three films with MGM gave her near-total creative control, La Bohème (1926), The Scarlet Letter (1926), and The Wind (1928). The Wind, Gish's favorite film of her MGM career, was a commercial failure with the rise of talkies, but is now recognized as one of the most distinguished works of the silent period. Though not a box-office hit as before, her work was respected artistically more than ever, and MGM pressed her with offers to appear in the new medium of sound pictures. Sound debut, return to the stage, and television and radio[edit] Lillian Gish in Jed Harris' Broadway production of Uncle Vanya (1930)Her debut in talkies was only moderately successful, largely due to the public's changing attitudes. Many of the silent era's leading ladies, such as Gish and Pickford, had been wholesome and innocent, but by the early 1930s (after the full adoption of sound and before the Motion Picture Production Code was enforced) these roles were perceived as outdated. The ingenue's diametric opposite, the vamp, was at the height of its popularity. Gish was increasingly seen as a "silly, sexless antique" (to quote Louise Brooks's sarcastic summary of Gish's criticism). Louis Mayer wanted to stage a scandal ("knock her off her pedestal") to garner public sympathy for Gish, but Lillian didn't want to act both on screen and off, and returned to her first love, the theater. She acted on the stage for the most part in the 1930s and early 1940s, appearing in roles as varied as Ophelia in Guthrie McClintic's landmark 1936 production of Hamlet (with John Gielgud and Judith Anderson) and Marguerite in a limited run of La Dame aux Camélias. Of the former, she said, with pride, "I played a lewd Ophelia!" Returning to movies, Gish was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1946 for Duel in the Sun. The scenes of her character's illness and death late in that film seemed intended to evoke the memory of some of her silent film performances. She appeared in films from time to time for the rest of her life, notably in Night of the Hunter (1955) as a rural guardian angel protecting her charges from a murderous preacher played by Robert Mitchum. She was considered for various roles in Gone with the Wind ranging from Ellen O'Hara, Scarlett's mother, which went to Barbara O'Neil,[11] to prostitute Belle Watling, which went to Ona Munson. Gish made numerous television appearances from the early 1950s into the late 1980s. Her most acclaimed television work was starring in the original production of The Trip to Bountiful in 1953. She appeared as Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna in the short-lived 1965 Broadway musical Anya. In addition to her later acting appearances, Gish became one of the leading advocates of the lost art of the silent film, often giving speeches and touring to screenings of classic works. In 1975, she hosted The Silent Years, a PBS film program of silent films. She was interviewed in the television documentary series Hollywood: A Celebration of the American Silent Film (1980).[12] Gish in 1973Gish received a Special Academy Award in 1971 "For superlative artistry and for distinguished contribution to the progress of motion pictures." In 1979, she was awarded the Women in film Crystal Award in Los Angeles[13] In 1984, she received an American Film Institute Lifetime Achievement Award, becoming only the second female recipient (preceded by Bette Davis in 1977) and the only recipient who was a major figure in the silent era. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1720 Vine Street. Her last film role was appearing in The Whales of August in 1987 at the age of 93, with Vincent Price, Bette Davis, and Ann Sothern, in which Davis and she starred as elderly sisters in Maine. Gish's performance was received glowingly, winning her the National Board of Review Award for Best Actress. At the Cannes festival Lillian won a 10-minute standing ovation from the audience. Some in the entertainment industry were angry that Gish did not receive an Oscar nomination for her role in The Whales of August. Gish herself was more complacent, remarking that it saved her the trouble of "losing to Cher."[citation needed] Her final professional appearance was a cameo on the 1988 studio recording of Jerome Kern's Show Boat, starring Frederica von Stade and Jerry Hadley, in which she affectingly spoke the few lines of The Old Lady on the Levee in the final scene. The last words of her long career were, "Good night." Radio[edit]Gish starred in an episode of I Was There, broadcast on CBS. The episode dramatized the making of the film The Birth of a Nation.[14] On May 31, 1951, she starred in an adaptation of Black Chiffon on Playhouse on Broadway.[15] Honors[edit]The American Film Institute named Gish 17th among the greatest female stars of Classic American cinema.[16] In 1955, she was awarded the George Eastman Award, for distinguished contribution to the art of film, at the George Eastman Museum's (then George Eastman House's) inaugural Festival of Film Artists.[17] She was awarded an Honorary Academy Award in 1971, and in 1984 she received an AFI Life Achievement Award.[18] Gish, an American icon, was also awarded in the Kennedy Center Honors. Personal life[edit] Lillian and her sister Dorothy, 1921Gish never married or had children. The association between Gish and D. W. Griffith was so close that some suspected a romantic connection, an issue never acknowledged by Gish, although several of their associates were certain they were at least briefly involved. For the remainder of her life, she always referred to him as "Mr. Griffith". She was also involved with producer Charles Duell and drama critic and editor George Jean Nathan. In the 1920s, Gish's association with Duell was something of a tabloid scandal because he had sued her and made the details of their relationship public.[7] Lillian Gish was the sister of actress Dorothy Gish. She was a survivor of the 1918 flu pandemic, having caught the flu during the filming of Broken Blossoms.[19] Gish learned French, German, and Italian from spending 15 years in Europe, which she first visited in 1917 during World War I. George Jean Nathan praised Gish's acting glowingly—comparing her to Eleonora Duse. External audio Lillian Gish talks with Studs Terkel on WFMT; 1963/01/16, Studs Terkel Radio Archive[20]During the period of political turmoil in the US that lasted from the outbreak of WWII in Europe until the attack on Pearl Harbor, she maintained an outspoken noninterventionist stance. She was an active member of the America First Committee, an anti-intervention organization founded by retired General Robert E. Wood with aviation pioneer Charles Lindbergh as its leading spokesman. She said she was blacklisted by the film and theater industries until she signed a contract in which she promised to cease her anti-interventionist activities and never disclose the fact that she had agreed to do so.[21] She maintained a very close relationship with her sister Dorothy, as well as with Mary Pickford, for her entire life. Another of her closest friends was actress Helen Hayes, the "First Lady of the American Theatre". Gish was the godmother of Hayes's son James MacArthur. Lillian Gish had also designated Hayes as a beneficiary of her estate, with Hayes surviving her by less than a month. Death[edit]She died peacefully in her sleep of heart failure on February 27, 1993 at age 99, 8 months before what would have been her 100th birthday. She is interred beside her sister Dorothy at Saint Bartholomew's Episcopal Church in New York City. Her estate was valued at several million dollars, the bulk of which went toward the creation of the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize Trust. Legacy[edit] Gish posed as Elaine of Astolat in Way Down EastA retrospective of Gish's life and achievements was showcased in an episode of the Emmy award winning PBS series, American Masters. The All Movie Guide wrote of her legacy:[22] "Lillian Gish is considered the movie industry's first true actress. A pioneer of fundamental film performing techniques, she was the first star to recognize the many crucial differences between acting for the stage and acting for the screen, and while her contemporaries painted their performances in broad, dramatic strokes, Gish delivered finely etched, nuanced turns carrying a stunning emotional impact. While by no means the biggest or most popular actress of the silent era, she was the most gifted, her seeming waiflike frailty masking unparalleled reserves of physical and spiritual strength. More than any other early star, she fought to earn film recognition as a true art form, and her achievements remain the standard against which those of all other actors are measured."[23] Turner Classic Movies writes:[24] "Having pioneered screen acting from vaudeville entertainment into a form of artistic expression, actress Lillian Gish forged a new creative path at a time when more serious thespians regarded motion pictures as a rather base form of employment. Gish brought to her roles a sense of craft substantially different from that practiced by her theatrical colleagues. In time, her sensitive performances elevated not only her stature as an actress, but also the reputation of movies themselves. The Dorothy and Lillian Gish PrizeA street in Massillon, Ohio, is named after Gish, who had lived there during an early period of her life and fondly referred to it as her hometown throughout her career.[25]François Truffaut's movie, Day for Night from 1973, is dedicated to Dorothy and Lilian Gish.[26]Gish's photo is mentioned as an inspiration for a troubled soldier in the 1933 novel, Company K.[27]In popular culture[edit]The debut album of The Smashing Pumpkins, released on May 28, 1991, is entitled Gish in reference to her. Singer Billy Corgan explained in an interview, "My grandmother used to tell me that one of the biggest things that ever happened was when Lillian Gish rode through town on a train, my grandmother lived in the middle of nowhere, so that was a big deal..."[28] Filmography[edit]Main article: Lillian Gish filmographyBooks[edit]Autobiographical: The Movies, Mr. Griffith, and Me (with Ann Pinchot) (Prentice-Hall, 1969)Dorothy and Lillian Gish (Charles Scribner's Sons, 1973)An Actor's Life For Me (with Selma G. Lanes) (Viking Penguin, 1987)Lillian Gish: the Movies, Mr. Griffith and Me, by Gish co-authored with Ann Pinchot; ISBN 0-491-00103-7, W.H. Allen 1969, and ISBN 0-916515-40-0 Mercury House, 1988. Biographical and topical: Abel, Richard, et al. Flickers of desire: movie stars of the 1910s (Rutgers University Press, 2011).Affron, Charles. Star Acting – Gish, Garbo, Davis (E.P. Dutton, 1977)Affron, Charles. Lillian Gish Her Legend, Her Life (University of California Press, 2002) revised paperback editionBerke, Annie, “‘Never Let the Camera Catch Me Acting’: Lillian Gish as Actress, Star, and Theorist,” Historical Journal of Film, Radio, and Television 36 (June 2016), 175–89.Bogdanovich, Peter. A Moment with Miss Gish – (Santa Teresa Press, 1995)Oderman, Stuart. Lillian Gish A Life on Stage and Screen (McFarland, 2000) A silent film is a film with no synchronized recorded sound (and in particular, no spoken dialogue). In silent films for entertainment, dialogue is conveyed by the use of muted gestures and mime in conjunction with title cards, written indications of the plot and key dialogue lines. The idea of combining motion pictures with recorded sound is nearly as old as film itself, but because of the technical challenges involved, the introduction of synchronized dialogue became practical only in the late 1920s with the perfection of the Audion amplifier tube and the advent of the Vitaphone system. During the silent-film era that existed from the mid-1890s to the late 1920s, a pianist, theater organist—or even, in large cities, a small orchestra—would often play music to accompany the films. Pianists and organists would play either from sheet music, or improvisation. The term silent film is a retronym—a term created to retroactively distinguish something. Early sound films, starting with The Jazz Singer in 1927, were variously referred to as the "talkies", "sound films", or "talking pictures". Within a decade, the widespread production of silent films for popular entertainment had ceased, and the industry had moved fully into the sound era, in which movies were accompanied by synchronized sound recordings of spoken dialogue, music and sound effects. Most early motion pictures are considered lost because the nitrate film used in that era was extremely unstable and flammable. Additionally, many films were deliberately destroyed because they had little value in the era before home video. It has often been claimed that around 75 percent of silent films have been lost, though these estimates may be inaccurate due to a lack of numerical data.[1] Contents1Elements and beginnings (1895–1936)2Silent film era2.1Intertitles2.2Live music and other sound accompaniment2.3Score restorations from 1980 to the present2.4Acting techniques2.5Projection speed2.6Tinting3Early studios4Top-grossing silent films in the United States5During the sound era5.1Transition5.2Later homages6Preservation and lost films6.1Dawson City cache7See also8References8.1Footnotes8.2Bibliography9Further reading10External linksElements and beginnings (1895–1936)Further information: History of film Roundhay Garden Scene, which is just over two seconds long and was made in 1888, is believed to be the world's earliest surviving motion-picture film. The elderly lady in black is Sarah Whitley, the mother-in-law of filmmaker Louis Le Prince; she died ten days after this scene was filmed.The earliest precursors to film began with image projection through the use of a device known as the magic lantern, which utilized a glass lens, a shutter, and a persistent light source (such as a powerful lantern) to project images from glass slides onto a wall. These slides were originally hand-painted, but, after the advent of photography in the 19th century, still photographs were sometimes used. Thus the invention of a practical photography apparatus preceded cinema by only fifty years.[2] The next significant step toward the invention of cinema was the development of an understanding of image movement. Simulations of movement date as far back as to 1828—only four years after Paul Roget discovered the phenomenon he called "Persistence of Vision". Roget showed that when a series of still images are shown at a considerable speed in front of a viewer's eye, the images merge into one registered image that appears to show movement. This is an optical illusion, since the image is not actually moving. This experience was further demonstrated through Roget's introduction of the thaumatrope, a device that spun at a fairly high speed a disk with an image on its surface.[2] Sallie Gardner at a Gallop (c. 1877), captured by Eadweard Muybridge with an array of cameras set up around a racetrack, is considered the first "proto-movie".The three features necessary for motion pictures to work were "a camera with sufficiently high shutter speed, a filmstrip capable of taking multiple exposures swiftly, and means of projecting the developed images on a screen".[3] The first projected proto-movie was made by Eadweard Muybridge between 1877 and 1880. Muybridge set up a row of cameras along a racetrack and timed image exposures to capture the many stages of a horse's gallop. The oldest surviving film (of the genre called "pictorial realism") was created by Louis Le Prince in 1888. It was a two-second film of people walking in "Oakwood streets" garden, titled Roundhay Garden Scene.[4] The development of American inventor Thomas Edison's Kinetograph, a photographic device that captured sequential images, and his Kinetoscope, a device for viewing those images, allowed for the creation and exhibition of short films. Edison also made a business of selling Kinetograph and Kinetoscope equipment, which laid the foundation for widespread film production.[2] Due to Edison's lack of securing an international patent on his film inventions, similar devices were "invented" around the world. In France, for example, Auguste and Louis Lumière created the Cinématographe, which proved to be a more portable and practical device than both of Edison's as it combined a camera, film processor, and projector in one unit.[2] In contrast to Edison's "peepshow"-style kinetoscope, which only one person could watch through a viewer, the cinematograph allowed simultaneous viewing by multiple people. Their first film, Sortie de l'usine Lumière de Lyon, shot in 1894, is considered the first true motion picture.[5] The invention of celluloid film, which was strong and flexible, greatly facilitated the making of motion pictures (although the celluloid was highly flammable and decayed quickly).[3] This film was 35 mm wide and was pulled using four sprocket holes, which became the industry standard (see 35 mm film). This doomed the cinematograph, which only worked with film with a single sprocket hole.[6] Silent film eraFile:Battle of Chemulpo Bay edison.ogvAn early film—produced in 1904 by Edison Studios—depicting a re-enactment of the Battle of Chemulpo Bay which took place on 9 February of that year off the coast of present-day Incheon, Korea.The art of motion pictures grew into full maturity in the "silent era" (1894 in film – 1929 in film). The height of the silent era (from the early 1910s in film to the late 1920s) was a particularly fruitful period, full of artistic innovation. The film movements of Classical Hollywood as well as French Impressionism, German Expressionism, and Soviet Montage began in this period. Silent filmmakers pioneered the art form to the extent that virtually every style and genre of film-making of the 20th and 21st centuries has its artistic roots in the silent era. The silent era was also a pioneering one from a technical point of view. Three-point lighting, the close-up, long shot, panning, and continuity editing all became prevalent long before silent films were replaced by "talking pictures" or "talkies" in the late 1920s. Some scholars claim that the artistic quality of cinema decreased for several years, during the early 1930s, until film directors, actors, and production staff adapted fully to the new "talkies" around the late 1930s.[7] The visual quality of silent movies—especially those produced in the 1920s—was often high, but there remains a widely held misconception that these films were primitive, and are barely watchable by modern standards.[8] This misconception comes from the general public's unfamiliarity with the medium, as well as from carelessness on the part of the industry. Most silent films are poorly preserved, leading to their deterioration, and well-preserved films are often played back at the wrong speed or suffer from censorship cuts and missing frames and scenes, giving the appearance of poor editing.[9][10] Many silent films exist only in second- or third-generation copies, often made from already damaged and neglected film stock.[7] Another widely held misconception is that silent films lacked color. In fact, color was far more prevalent in silent films than in the first few decades of sound films. By the early 1920s, 80 per cent of movies could be seen in color, usually in the form of film tinting or toning (i.e. "colorization") but also with real color processes such as Kinemacolor and Technicolor.[11] Traditional colorization processes ceased with the adoption of sound-on-film technology. Traditional film colorization, all of which involved the use of dyes in some form, interfered with the high resolution required for built-in recorded sound, and were therefore abandoned. The innovative three-strip technicolor process introduced in the mid-30s was costly and fraught with limitations, and color would not have the same prevalence in film as it did in the silents for nearly four decades. Intertitles The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920) used stylized intertitles.As motion pictures gradually increased in running time, a replacement was needed for the in-house interpreter who would explain parts of the film to the audience. Because silent films had no synchronized sound for dialogue, onscreen intertitles were used to narrate story points, present key dialogue and sometimes even comment on the action for the audience. The title writer became a key professional in silent film and was often separate from the scenario writer who created the story. Intertitles (or titles as they were generally called at the time) often became graphic elements themselves, featuring illustrations or abstract decoration that commented on the action.[citation needed] Live music and other sound accompanimentShowings of silent films almost always featured live music, starting with the guitarist, at the first public projection of movies by the Lumière brothers on December 28, 1895, in Paris. This was furthered in 1896 by the first motion-picture exhibition in the United States at Koster and Bial's Music Hall in New York City. At this event, Edison set the precedent that all exhibitions should be accompanied by an orchestra.[12] From the beginning, music was recognized as essential, contributing "atmosphere", and giving the audience vital emotional cues. (Musicians sometimes played on film sets during shooting for similar reasons.) However, depending on the size of the exhibition site, musical accompaniment could drastically change in scale.[2] Small town and neighborhood movie theatres usually had a pianist. Beginning in the mid-1910s, large city theaters tended to have organists or ensembles of musicians. Massive theater organs, which were designed to fill a gap between a simple piano soloist and a larger orchestra, had a wide range of special effects. Theatrical organs such as the famous "Mighty Wurlitzer" could simulate some orchestral sounds along with a number of percussion effects such as bass drums and cymbals, and sound effects ranging from "train and boat whistles [to] car horns and bird whistles; ... some could even simulate pistol shots, ringing phones, the sound of surf, horses' hooves, smashing pottery, [and] thunder and rain".[13] Musical scores for early silent films were either improvised or compiled of classical or theatrical repertory music. Once full features became commonplace, however, music was compiled from photoplay music by the pianist, organist, orchestra conductor or the movie studio itself, which included a cue sheet with the film. These sheets were often lengthy, with detailed notes about effects and moods to watch for. Starting with the mostly original score composed by Joseph Carl Breil for D. W. Griffith's groundbreaking epic The Birth of a Nation (1915), it became relatively common for the biggest-budgeted films to arrive at the exhibiting theater with original, specially composed scores.[14] However, the first designated full-blown scores had in fact been composed in 1908, by Camille Saint-Saëns for The Assassination of the Duke of Guise,[15] and by Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov for Stenka Razin. When organists or pianists used sheet music, they still might have added improvisational flourishes to heighten the drama on screen. Even when special effects were not indicated in the score, if an organist was playing a theater organ capable of an unusual sound effect such as "galloping horses", it would be used during scenes of dramatic horseback chases. At the height of the silent era, movies were the single largest source of employment for instrumental musicians, at least in the United States. However, the introduction of talkies coupled with the roughly simultaneous onset of the Great Depression was devastating to many musicians. A number of countries devised other ways of bringing sound to silent films. The early cinema of Brazil, for example, featured fitas cantatas: filmed operettas with singers performing behind the screen.[16] In Japan, films had not only live music but also the benshi, a live narrator who provided commentary and character voices. The benshi became a central element in Japanese film, as well as providing translation for foreign (mostly American) movies.[17] The popularity of the benshi was one reason why silent films persisted well into the 1930s in Japan. Score restorations from 1980 to the presentFew film scores survive intact from the silent period, and musicologists are still confronted by questions when they attempt to precisely reconstruct those that remain. Scores used in current reissues or screenings of silent films may be complete reconstructions of compositions; newly composed for the occasion; assembled from already existing music libraries, or improvised on the spot in the manner of the silent-era theater musician. Interest in the scoring of silent films fell somewhat out of fashion during the 1960s and 1970s. There was a belief in many college film programs and repertory cinemas that audiences should experience silent film as a pure visual medium, undistracted by music. This belief may have been encouraged by the poor quality of the music tracks found on many silent film reprints of the time. Since around 1980, there has been a revival of interest in presenting silent films with quality musical scores (either reworkings of period scores or cue sheets, or the composition of appropriate original scores). An early effort of this kind was Kevin Brownlow's 1980 restoration of Abel Gance's Napoléon (1927), featuring a score by Carl Davis. A slightly re-edited and sped-up version of Brownlow's restoration was later distributed in the United States by Francis Ford Coppola, with a live orchestral score composed by his father Carmine Coppola. In 1984, an edited restoration of Metropolis (1927) was released with a new rock music score by producer-composer Giorgio Moroder. Although the contemporary score, which included pop songs by Freddie Mercury, Pat Benatar, and Jon Anderson of Yes, was controversial, the door had been opened for a new approach to the presentation of classic silent films. Today, a large number of soloists, music ensembles, and orchestras perform traditional and contemporary scores for silent films internationally.[18] The legendary theater organist Gaylord Carter continued to perform and record his original silent film scores until shortly before his death in 2000; some of those scores are available on DVD reissues. Other purveyors of the traditional approach include organists such as Dennis James and pianists such as Neil Brand, Günter Buchwald, Philip C. Carli, Ben Model, and William P. Perry. Other contemporary pianists, such as Stephen Horne and Gabriel Thibaudeau, have often taken a more modern approach to scoring. Orchestral conductors such as Carl Davis and Robert Israel have written and compiled scores for numerous silent films; many of these have been featured in showings on Turner Classic Movies or have been released on DVD. Davis has composed new scores for classic silent dramas such as The Big Parade (1925) and Flesh and the Devil (1927). Israel has worked mainly in silent comedy, scoring films of Harold Lloyd, Buster Keaton, Charley Chase and others. Timothy Brock has restored many of Charlie Chaplin's scores, in addition to composing new scores. Contemporary music ensembles are helping to introduce classic silent films to a wider audience through a broad range of musical styles and approaches. Some performers create new compositions using traditional musical instruments while others add electronic sounds, modern harmonies, rhythms, improvisation and sound design elements to enhance the viewing experience. Among the contemporary ensembles in this category are Un Drame Musical Instantané, Alloy Orchestra, Club Foot Orchestra, Silent Orchestra, Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra, Minima and the Caspervek Trio, RPM Orchestra. Donald Sosin and his wife Joanna Seaton specialize in adding vocals to silent films, particularly where there is onscreen singing that benefits from hearing the actual song being performed. Films in this category include Griffith's Lady of the Pavements with Lupe Vélez, Edwin Carewe's Evangeline with Dolores del Rio, and Rupert Julian's The Phantom of the Opera with Mary Philbin and Virginia Pearson.[citation needed] The Silent Film Sound and Music Archive digitizes music and cue sheets written for silent film and makes it available for use by performers, scholars, and enthusiasts.[19] Acting techniques Lillian Gish, the "First Lady of the American Cinema", was a leading star in the silent era with one of the longest careers—1912 to 1987.Silent-film actors emphasized body language and facial expression so that the audience could better understand what an actor was feeling and portraying on screen. Much silent film acting is apt to strike modern-day audiences as simplistic or campy. The melodramatic acting style was in some cases a habit actors transferred from their former stage experience. Vaudeville was an especially popular origin for many American silent film actors.[2] The pervading presence of stage actors in film was the cause of this outburst from director Marshall Neilan in 1917: "The sooner the stage people who have come into pictures get out, the better for the pictures". In other cases, directors such as John Griffith Wray required their actors to deliver larger-than-life expressions for emphasis. As early as 1914, American viewers had begun to make known their preference for greater naturalness on screen.[20] Silent films became less vaudevillian in the mid-1910s, as the differences between stage and screen became apparent. Due to the work of directors such as David Wark Griffith, cinematography became less stage-like, and the development of the close up allowed for understated and realistic acting. Lillian Gish has been called film's "first true actress" for her work in the period, as she pioneered new film performing techniques, recognizing the crucial differences between stage and screen acting. Directors such as Albert Capellani and Maurice Tourneur began to insist on naturalism in their films. By the mid-1920s many American silent films had adopted a more naturalistic acting style, though not all actors and directors accepted naturalistic, low-key acting straight away; as late as 1927, films featuring expressionistic acting styles, such as Metropolis, were still being released.[20] Greta Garbo, who made her debut in 1926, would become known for her naturalistic acting. According to Anton Kaes, a silent film scholar from the University of California, Berkeley, American silent cinema began to see a shift in acting techniques between 1913 and 1921, influenced by techniques found in German silent film. This is mainly attributed to the influx of emigrants from the Weimar Republic, "including film directors, producers, cameramen, lighting and stage technicians, as well as actors and actresses".[21] Projection speedUntil the standardization of the projection speed of 24 frames per second (fps) for sound films between 1926 and 1930, silent films were shot at variable speeds (or "frame rates") anywhere from 12 to 40 fps, depending on the year and studio.[22] "Standard silent film speed" is often said to be 16 fps as a result of the Lumière brothers' Cinématographe, but industry practice varied considerably; there was no actual standard. William Kennedy Laurie Dickson, an Edison employee, settled on the astonishingly fast 40 frames per second.[2] Additionally, cameramen of the era insisted that their cranking technique was exactly 16 fps, but modern examination of the films shows this to be in error, that they often cranked faster. Unless carefully shown at their intended speeds silent films can appear unnaturally fast or slow. However, some scenes were intentionally undercranked during shooting to accelerate the action—particularly for comedies and action films.[22] Cinématographe Lumière at the Institut Lumière, France. Such cameras had no audio recording devices built into the cameras.Slow projection of a cellulose nitrate base film carried a risk of fire, as each frame was exposed for a longer time to the intense heat of the projection lamp; but there were other reasons to project a film at a greater pace. Often projectionists received general instructions from the distributors on the musical director's cue sheet as to how fast particular reels or scenes should be projected.[22] In rare instances, usually for larger productions, cue sheets produced specifically for the projectionist provided a detailed guide to presenting the film. Theaters also—to maximize profit—sometimes varied projection speeds depending on the time of day or popularity of a film,[23] or to fit a film into a prescribed time slot.[22] All motion-picture film projectors require a moving shutter to block the light whilst the film is moving, otherwise the image is smeared in the direction of the movement. However this shutter causes the image to flicker, and images with low rates of flicker are very unpleasant to watch. Early studies by Thomas Edison for his Kinetoscope machine determined that any rate below 46 images per second "will strain the eye".[22] and this holds true for projected images under normal cinema conditions also. The solution adopted for the Kinetoscope was to run the film at over 40 frames/sec, but this was expensive for film. However, by using projectors with dual- and triple-blade shutters the flicker rate is multiplied two or three times higher than the number of film frames — each frame being flashed two or three times on screen. A three-blade shutter projecting a 16 fps film will slightly surpass Edison's figure, giving the audience 48 images per second. During the silent era projectors were commonly fitted with 3-bladed shutters. Since the introduction of sound with its 24 frame/sec standard speed 2-bladed shutters have become the norm for 35 mm cinema projectors, though three-bladed shutters have remained standard on 16 mm and 8 mm projectors, which are frequently used to project amateur footage shot at 16 or 18 frames/sec. A 35 mm film frame rate of 24 fps translates to a film speed of 456 millimetres (18.0 in) per second.[24] One 1,000-foot (300 m) reel requires 11 minutes and 7 seconds to be projected at 24 fps, while a 16 fps projection of the same reel would take 16 minutes and 40 seconds, or 304 millimetres (12.0 in) per second.[22] In the 1950s, many telecine conversions of silent films at grossly incorrect frame rates for broadcast television may have alienated viewers.[25] Film speed is often a vexed issue among scholars and film buffs in the presentation of silents today, especially when it comes to DVD releases of restored films, such as the case of the 2002 restoration of Metropolis (Germany, 1927).[citation needed] TintingMain article: Film tinting A scene from Broken Blossoms starring Lillian Gish and Richard Barthelmess—an example of a sepia-tinted print.With the lack of natural color processing available, films of the silent era were frequently dipped in dyestuffs and dyed various shades and hues to signal a mood or represent a time of day. Hand tinting dates back to 1895 in the United States with Edison's release of selected hand-tinted prints of Butterfly Dance. Additionally, experiments in color film started as early as in 1909, although it took a much longer time for color to be adopted by the industry and an effective process to be developed.[2] Blue represented night scenes, yellow or amber meant day. Red represented fire and green represented a mysterious atmosphere. Similarly, toning of film (such as the common silent film generalization of sepia-toning) with special solutions replaced the silver particles in the film stock with salts or dyes of various colors. A combination of tinting and toning could be used as an effect that could be striking. Some films were hand-tinted, such as Annabelle Serpentine Dance (1894), from Edison Studios. In it, Annabelle Whitford,[26] a young dancer from Broadway, is dressed in white veils that appear to change colors as she dances. This technique was designed to capture the effect of the live performances of Loie Fuller, beginning in 1891, in which stage lights with colored gels turned her white flowing dresses and sleeves into artistic movement.[27] Hand coloring was often used in the early "trick" and fantasy films of Europe, especially those by Georges Méliès. Méliès began hand-tinting his work as early as 1897 and the 1899 Cendrillion (Cinderella) and 1900 Jeanne d'Arc (Joan of Arc) provide early examples of hand-tinted films in which the color was a critical part of the scenography or mise en scène; such precise tinting used the workshop of Elisabeth Thuillier in Paris, with teams of female artists adding layers of color to each frame by hand rather than using a more common (and less expensive) process of stenciling.[28] A newly restored version of Méliès' A Trip to the Moon, originally released in 1902, shows an exuberant use of color designed to add texture and interest to the image.[29] By the beginning of the 1910s, with the onset of feature-length films, tinting was used as another mood setter, just as commonplace as music. The director D. W. Griffith displayed a constant interest and concern about color, and used tinting as a special effect in many of his films. His 1915 epic, The Birth of a Nation, used a number of colors, including amber, blue, lavender, and a striking red tint for scenes such as the "burning of Atlanta" and the ride of the Ku Klux Klan at the climax of the picture. Griffith later invented a color system in which colored lights flashed on areas of the screen to achieve a color. With the development of sound-on-film technology and the industry's acceptance of it, tinting was abandoned altogether, because the dyes used in the tinting process interfered with the soundtracks present on film strips.[2] Early studiosThe early studios were located in the New York City area. Edison Studios were first in West Orange, New Jersey (1892), they were moved to the Bronx, New York (1907). Fox (1909) and Biograph (1906) started in Manhattan, with studios in St George, Staten Island. Others films were shot in Fort Lee, New Jersey. In December 1908, Edison led the formation of the Motion Picture Patents Company in an attempt to control the industry and shut out smaller producers. The "Edison Trust", as it was nicknamed, was made up of Edison, Biograph, Essanay Studios, Kalem Company, George Kleine Productions, Lubin Studios, Georges Méliès, Pathé, Selig Studios, and Vitagraph Studios, and dominated distribution through the General Film Company. This company dominated the industry as both a vertical and horizontal monopoly and is a contributing factor in studios' migration to the West Coast. The Motion Picture Patents Co. and the General Film Co. were found guilty of antitrust violation in October 1915, and were dissolved. The Thanhouser film studio was founded in New Rochelle, New York, in 1909 by American theatrical impresario Edwin Thanhouser. The company produced and released 1,086 films between 1910 and 1917, including the first film serial ever, The Million Dollar Mystery, released in 1914.[30] The first westerns were filmed at Fred Scott's Movie Ranch in South Beach, Staten Island. Actors costumed as cowboys and Native Americans galloped across Scott's movie ranch set, which had a frontier main street, a wide selection of stagecoaches and a 56-foot stockade. The island provided a serviceable stand-in for locations as varied as the Sahara desert and a British cricket pitch. War scenes were shot on the plains of Grasmere, Staten Island. The Perils of Pauline and its even more popular sequel The Exploits of Elaine were filmed largely on the island. So was the 1906 blockbuster Life of a Cowboy, by Edwin S. Porter. Company and filming moved to the West Coast around 1911. Top-grossing silent films in the United States Poster for The Birth of a Nation (1915) Poster for Ben-Hur (1925)The following are American films from the silent film era that had earned the highest gross income as of 1932. The amounts given are gross rentals (the distributor's share of the box-office) as opposed to exhibition gross.[31] TitleYearDirector(s)Gross rentalRef.The Birth of a Nation1915D. W. Griffith$10,000,000The Big Parade1925King Vidor$6,400,000Ben-Hur1925Fred Niblo$5,500,000Way Down East1920D. W. Griffith$5,000,000The Gold Rush1925Charlie Chaplin$4,250,000The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse1921Rex Ingram$4,000,000The Circus1928Charlie Chaplin$3,800,000The Covered Wagon1923James Cruze$3,800,000The Hunchback of Notre Dame1923Wallace Worsley$3,500,000The Ten Commandments1923Cecil B. DeMille$3,400,000Orphans of the Storm1921D. W. Griffith$3,000,000For Heaven's Sake1926Sam Taylor$2,600,0007th Heaven1927Frank Borzage$2,500,000What Price Glory?1926Raoul Walsh$2,400,000Abie's Irish Rose1928Victor Fleming$1,500,000During the sound eraTransitionAlthough attempts to create sync-sound motion pictures go back to the Edison lab in 1896, only from the early 1920s were the basic technologies such as vacuum tube amplifiers and high-quality loudspeakers available. The next few years saw a race to design, implement, and market several rival sound-on-disc and sound-on-film sound formats, such as Photokinema (1921), Phonofilm (1923), Vitaphone (1926), Fox Movietone (1927) and RCA Photophone (1928). Warner Bros was the first studio to accept sound as an element in film production and utilize Vitaphone, a sound-on-disc technology, to do so.[2] The studio then released The Jazz Singer in 1927, which marked the first commercially successful sound film, but silent films were still the majority of features released in both 1927 and 1928, along with so-called goat-glanded films: silents with a subsection of sound film inserted. Thus the modern sound film era may be regarded as coming to dominance beginning in 1929. For a listing of notable silent era films, see List of years in film for the years between the beginning of film and 1928. The following list includes only films produced in the sound era with the specific artistic intention of being silent. City Girl, F. W. Murnau, 1930Earth, Aleksandr Dovzhenko, 1930The Silent Enemy, H.P. Carver, 1930[32][33]Borderline, Kenneth Macpherson, 1930City Lights, Charlie Chaplin, 1931Tabu, F. W. Murnau, 1931I Was Born, But..., Yasujirō Ozu, 1932Passing Fancy, Yasujirō Ozu, 1933The Goddess, Wu Yonggang, 1934A Story of Floating Weeds, Yasujirō Ozu, 1934Legong, Henri de la Falaise, 1935An Inn in Tokyo, Yasujirō Ozu, 1935Later homagesSeveral filmmakers have paid homage to the comedies of the silent era, including, Charlie Chaplin, with Modern Times (1936), Orson Welles with Too Much Johnson (1938), Jacques Tati with Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot (1953), Pierre Etaix with The Suitor (1962), and Mel Brooks with Silent Movie (1976). Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien's acclaimed drama Three Times (2005) is silent during its middle third, complete with intertitles; Stanley Tucci's The Impostors has an opening silent sequence in the style of early silent comedies. Brazilian filmmaker Renato Falcão's Margarette's Feast (2003) is silent. Writer / Director Michael Pleckaitis puts his own twist on the genre with Silent (2007). While not silent, the Mr. Bean television series and movies have used the title character's non-talkative nature to create a similar style of humor. A lesser-known example is Jérôme Savary's La fille du garde-barrière (1975), an homage to silent-era films that uses intertitles and blends comedy, drama, and explicit sex scenes (which led to it being refused a cinema certificate by the British Board of Film Classification). In 1990, Charles Lane directed and starred in Sidewalk Stories, a low budget salute to sentimental silent comedies particularly Charlie Chaplin's The Kid. The German film Tuvalu (1999) is mostly silent; the small amount of dialog is an odd mix of European languages, increasing the film's universality. Guy Maddin won awards for his homage to Soviet era silent films with his short The Heart of the World after which he made a feature-length silent, Brand Upon the Brain! (2006), incorporating live Foley artists, narration and orchestra at select showings. Shadow of the Vampire (2000) is a highly fictionalized depiction of the filming of Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau's classic silent vampire movie Nosferatu (1922). Werner Herzog honored the same film in his own version, Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (1979). Some films draw a direct contrast between the silent film era and the era of talkies. Sunset Boulevard shows the disconnect between the two eras in the character of Norma Desmond, played by silent film star Gloria Swanson, and Singin' in the Rain deals with Hollywood artists adjusting to the talkies. Peter Bogdanovich's 1976 film Nickelodeon deals with the turmoil of silent filmmaking in Hollywood during the early 1910s, leading up to the release of D. W. Griffith's epic The Birth of a Nation (1915). In 1999, the Finnish filmmaker Aki Kaurismäki produced Juha, which captures the style of a silent film, using intertitles in place of spoken dialogue.[34] In India, the film Pushpak (1988),[35] starring Kamal Hassan, was a black comedy entirely devoid of dialog. The Australian film Doctor Plonk (2007), was a silent comedy directed by Rolf de Heer. Stage plays have drawn upon silent film styles and sources. Actor/writers Billy Van Zandt & Jane Milmore staged their Off-Broadway slapstick comedy Silent Laughter as a live action tribute to the silent screen era.[36] Geoff Sobelle and Trey Lyford created and starred in All Wear Bowlers (2004), which started as an homage to Laurel and Hardy then evolved to incorporate life-sized silent film sequences of Sobelle and Lyford who jump back and forth between live action and the silver screen.[37] The animated film Fantasia (1940), which is eight different animation sequences set to music, can be considered a silent film, with only one short scene involving dialogue. The espionage film The Thief (1952) has music and sound effects, but no dialogue, as do Thierry Zéno's 1974 Vase de Noces and Patrick Bokanowski's 1982 The Angel. In 2005, the H. P. Lovecraft Historical Society produced a silent film version of Lovecraft's story The Call of Cthulhu. This film maintained a period-accurate filming style, and was received as both "the best HPL adaptation to date" and, referring to the decision to make it as a silent movie, "a brilliant conceit".[38] The French film The Artist (2011), written and directed by Michel Hazanavicius, plays as a silent film and is set in Hollywood during the silent era. It also includes segments of fictitious silent films starring its protagonists.[39] The Japanese vampire film Sanguivorous (2011) is not only done in the style of a silent film, but even toured with live orchestral accompiment.[40][41] Eugene Chadbourne has been among those who have played live music for the film.[42] Blancanieves is a 2012 Spanish black-and-white silent fantasy drama film written and directed by Pablo Berger. The American feature-length silent film Silent Life started in 2006, features performances by Isabella Rossellini and Galina Jovovich, mother of Milla Jovovich, will premiere in 2013. The film is based on the life of the silent screen icon Rudolph Valentino, known as the Hollywood's first "Great Lover". After the emergency surgery, Valentino loses his grip of reality and begins to see the recollection of his life in Hollywood from a perspective of a coma - as a silent film shown at a movie palace, the magical portal between life and eternity, between reality and illusion.[43][44] Right There is a 2013 short film that is an homage to silent film comedies. The 2015 British animated film Shaun the Sheep Movie based on Shaun the Sheep was released to positive reviews and was a box office success. Aardman Animations also produced Morph and Timmy Time as well as many other silent short films. The American Theatre Organ Society pays homage to the music of silent films, as well as the theatre organs that played such music. With over 75 local chapters, the organization seeks to preserve and promote theater organs and music, as an art form.[45] The Globe International Silent Film Festival (GISFF) is an annual event focusing on image and atmosphere in cinema which takes place in a reputable university or academic environment every year and is a platform for showcasing and judging films from filmmakers who are active in this field.[46] Preservation and lost filmsFurther information: Lost film and Film preservation A still from Saved from the Titanic (1912), which featured survivors of the disaster. It is now among those considered a lost film.The vast majority of the silent films produced in the late 19th and early 20th centuries are considered lost. According to a September 2013 report published by the United States Library of Congress, some 70 percent of American silent feature films fall into this category.[47] There are numerous reasons for this number being so high. Some films have been lost unintentionally, but most silent films were destroyed on purpose. Between the end of the silent era and the rise of home video, film studios would often discard large numbers of silent films out of a desire to free up storage in their archives, assuming that they had lost the cultural relevance and economic value to justify the amount of space they occupied. Additionally, due to the fragile nature of the nitrate film stock on which many silent films were recorded, many silent films have deteriorated or have been lost in accidents such as fires (because nitrate is highly flammable and can spontaneously combust when stored improperly). Examples of prominent incidents include the 1965 MGM vault fire and the 1937 Fox vault fire, both of which incited catastrophic losses of films. Many such films not completely destroyed survive only partially, or in badly damaged prints. Some lost films, such as the 1927 film London After Midnight have been the subject of considerable interest by film collectors and historians. Major silent films presumed lost include: Saved from the Titanic (1912), which featured survivors of the disaster;[48]The Life of General Villa, starring Pancho Villa himselfThe Apostle, the first animated feature film (1917)Cleopatra (1917)[49]Gold Diggers (1923)Kiss Me Again (1925)Arirang (1926)The Great Gatsby (1926)London After Midnight (1927)Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1928)[50]Though most lost silent films will never be recovered, some have been discovered in film archives or private collections. Discovered and preserved versions may be editions made for the home rental market of the 1920s and 1930s that are discovered in estate sales, etc.[51] The degradation of old film stock can be slowed through proper archiving, and films can be transferred to digital media for preservation. The preservation of silent films has been a high priority for historians and archivists.[52] Dawson City cacheDawson City, in the Yukon territory of Canada, was once the end of the distribution line for many films. In 1978, a cache of more than 500 reels of nitrate film was discovered during the excavation of a vacant lot formerly the site of the Dawson Amateur Athletic Association, which had started showing films at their recreation centre in 1903.[52][53] Works by Pearl White, Harold Lloyd, Douglas Fairbanks, and Lon Chaney, among others, were included, as well as many newsreels. The titles were stored at the local library until 1929 when the flammable nitrate was used as landfill in a condemned swimming pool. Having spent 50 years under the permafrost of the Yukon, the reels turned out to be extremely well preserved. Owing to its dangerous chemical volatility,[54] the historical find was moved by military transport to Library and Archives Canada and the US Library of Congress for storage (and transfer to safety film). A documentary about the find, Dawson City: Frozen Time was released in 2016.[55][56] See alsoCategory:Silent filmsCategory:Silent film actorsClassic ImagesLaurel and Hardy filmsList of film formatsGerman ExpressionismKammerspielfilmList of silent films released on 8 mm or Super 8 mm filmLost filmsMelodramaSound filmSound stageTab show"At the Moving Picture Ball" (song about silent film stars) The daughter of James Leigh Gish and Mary Robinson McConnell, Lillian Gish was proud of her roots, deeply planted in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century America. The Gish name was initially the source of some mystification. In 1922, at the time of the opening of Orphans of the Storm, Lillian reported that the Gish family was of French origin, descending from the Duke de Guiche, who fled France to escape his military duties. This French connection is reported in the program bio for Orphans of the Storm, in keeping, perhaps, with the French locale of the picture. Such press-agentry falsification was common. Just a few years later the story was modified slightly so that de Guiche becomes the more illustrious Duc de Guise. It is also possible that Lillian was, at this time, genuinely ignorant of her father's origins. Her ties were infinitely stronger to her mother's side, and she had, in fact, had little contact with her father's family for many years. The first "Gish" to settle in North America was Matthias Gisch, who came from the Saar region, around Wolfersweiler. The family historian, J. I. Hamaker, a professor at Randolph-Macon Women's College, alerted Lillian in 1933 to the two hundredth anniversary of the establishment of the Gish homestead near Manheim, Pennsylvania, six miles north of Lancaster, where Matthias received a land grant of 170 acres from William Penn. A monument marks the site at eight-tenths of a mile south of Penryn, at Gish and Newport Roads. The Newport Road was a highway that linked Harrisburg and the port at Wilmington, Delaware. Matthias was a prosperous smithy as well as a farmer. When it was sold in 1942, the farm consisted of ninety-eight acres, a brick house built in 1851, and a barn with a cornerstone dated 1733. Because of conflicting records, it is not clear whether Lillian belonged to the fifth or sixth generation of Gishes born in America. Many in the family migrated from Pennsylvania to Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri, Iowa, Kansas, and as far west as Idaho and California. Some stayed in Pennsylvania as practicing Mennonites. Among the Gish ancestors were a great-uncle probably murdered on a business trip to Philadelphia and four cousins who served in the Civil War. Lillian's father, James Leigh Gish was the youngest of four sons of David Gish (1814-88) and Diana Caroline Waltz. Baptismal records exist for two of James Leigh's brothers, David Edwin (June 30, 1860) and Alfred Grant (July 19, 1864) but none for James Leigh. Lillian's mother, Mary Robinson McConnell, the daughter of Henry Clay McConnell and Emily Ward Robinson, had a sister, Emily, and two brothers, Henry and Frank. When she was a little girl, Lillian's personal mythology was informed by her maternal ancestors and the stories she heard from her great-aunt Carrie Robinson. A tenth-generation American on her mother's side, Lillian inherited a family history that reads like American history — emigration from the Old World, settlement and struggle in the New World, military service and political commitment, even distinction in the arts. Francis Barnard emigrated from England in 1632 or 1634 to Hartford, Connecticut, and then Hadley, Massachusetts. John Taylor, born in 1641, also from England, was an early resident of Northampton, Massachusetts. Joseph Barnard, who helped settle Deerfield, Massachusetts, was killed there by Native Americans in 1695. His gravestone is still standing. Other members of these lines were a brigadier major in the French and Indian War, an Ohio state senator, a drummer boy in the Union Army. Lillian's great-grandmother Emily Ward Robinson, who was the first young woman from Ohio to attend Mount Holyoke College, also had her poems published in Harper's Magazine. But the most illustrious member of the family was President Zachary Taylor, whose portrait hung in Lillian's apartment. (A more recent claim to celebrity lineage was Diana Spencer, Princess of Wales, her seventh cousin thrice removed.) For Lillian Gish, American history was, at the microcosmic level, in part, a family affair. She described how, when she was a child actress touring the country, her mother took her to graveyards where they would search for the family names. "It surprised us to see how many times familiar names turned up, but, of course, this country was a lot younger then. Mother's great-great-grandmother shook hands with President George Washington when she was a little girl!" References to the courtship and marriage of James Gish and Mary McConnell are brief. Lillian herself dates their meeting "a few years" after the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, in 1893, a misrepresentation designed to shave "a few years" from her own birthday in that very year. The dates in the rest of her account are also inaccurate. James had left Hummelstown, Pennsylvania, to clerk in a wholesale grocery firm in Springfield, Ohio. Remembering her father as fair-haired and good-looking, Lillian, in her handwritten corrections to the manuscript of Paine's biography, adds "young, handsome and winning" to the description of "James Gish, a traveling salesman." She also puts James's age at twenty-one when he met and soon thereafter married Mary, a pretty, blond, petite young woman, who she claimed to be three years his junior. The couple first settled in Springfield, Ohio. Lillian Diana Gish was born in a rather large two-story house at 219 Linden Avenue, October 14, 1893. She was born with a caul, and according to her grandmother, this was a good omen. Three weeks later, the grandmother saved her from a life-threatening attack of membranous croup. But all this really transpired when Lillian's father and mother were still teenagers; James was seventeen or eighteen and Mary seventeen. James's death certificate indicates he was born in 1875 or 1876; Mary's birthday was September 16, 1876. They had to falsify their declarations to obtain a license in the state of Ohio, where a statute forbade marriage for men younger than twenty and women younger than eighteen. They were married on January 7, 1893, at a Lutheran church in Dayton. The Gish's second daughter, Dorothy, was born in Dayton on March 11, 1898. That date was always correctly reported, while Lillian Gish's birth date was a vexed issue throughout her professional life. When she first began to work as a child actress, she was not yet nine years old, but it was in her interest to pass for younger. Audiences of melodrama took particular delight in the disasters that threatened the cute tots on the stage: the younger the tot, the more vulnerable the victim, the greater the thrill and the pathos. Actually, Lillian's little sister, Dorothy, probably preceded her on the stage. Dorothy, four and a half years Lillian's junior, did not have to falsify her age to play Little Willie in East Lynne. She could not have been more than four years old at the time. The span of years between the two sisters was shortened to give Lillian the chance to be a littler girl than she actually was, thus extending her marketability in theatrical troupes that toured melodramas just after the turn of the century. This subterfuge served Lillian well when she joined D. W. Griffith at Biograph in 1912. Already a veteran actress, going on nineteen, she needed to be young in a medium that cherished the freshness of youth. Griffith often cast her and his other favorites in the roles of girls and very young women. Sidney Sutherland, the author of Lillian's 1927 serialized biography in Liberty Magazine, confessed to perplexity about the age of his subject. Not unsurprisingly for a movie star, Lillian's own memory apparently failed when called upon to provide details. Sutherland did some checking and found the court records that gave Dorothy's accurate birth date as March 11, 1898, and Lillian's as October 14, 1893. Why then did Who's Who indicate October 14, 1896? he asked. "And yet Dorothy's birth record shows your father gave his age in 1898 as twenty-four — so he must have been nineteen when you were born, according to Clark County, a manifest absurdity." Absurd perhaps, but true. Sutherland consulted Griffith, who advised him to leave vague the matter of Lillian's age. Albert Bigelow Paine, her 1932 biographer, puts her birth date in 1896, not 1893, on the first page of his work, as Lillian instructed. Paine thought this forthrightness very brave of her, and entirely consonant with her admirable character: "You are not in a class with those who are willing to sail under false colors." Over the subsequent decades, Lillian's year of birth was variously reported as 1896 and 1898. It was not reported at all in her 1969 autobiography. And as late as 1987, when she was going on ninety-four, she still indulged in the creative chronology that actors often think their prerogative. "I was born ten weeks before the beginning of the twentieth century. I'm not 90 years old, as many people seem to think, but I am as old as the century." That neat calculation subtracted seven years from the august total. Paine relishes the stories of Lillian's childhood — how she preferred playing with her sister, Dorothy, to her rag doll, her taste for castoria cured only when her aunt half-filled the bottle with cod-liver oil, the recurrent nightmare of a masked face appearing in a window. Since marital separation did not fit Paine's idealized portrait of the girl who loved to say her prayers and adored her mother, he deals only briefly and reticently with the most important event of little Lillian's life: the breakup of her parents' marriage. Lillian herself always attributed the failure of the union to the extreme youth of the couple, and the father's immaturity and dreamy nature. At the time of Dorothy's birth, in 1898, the four Gishes were living with James's grandmother in Dayton, a situation that did not suit Mary. There are a number of variations on the account of the family's fortunes, the most fanciful of which is that James "was the owner of a prosperous and ever-extending chain of confectionery stores, one of the real founders of the chain stores system in this country." In fact, an opportunity did arise for James to go into the confectionery business in Baltimore, where the family relocated. It was here that Lillian made her first appearance on a professional stage, at Ford's Theatre, along with popular actors Nat Goodwin and Maxine Elliot, distributing Christmas stockings to poor children. In the official versions, the restless James soon sold his share and moved on to New York City, leaving Mary and the girls in Baltimore. An undated typescript in Lillian's files supplies a more candid explanation of the events. It refers to James's alcoholism and Mary's hope that a move to New York would help cure him. He only got worse. For a while, Mary worked for James's ex-partner, Edward Meixner, packaging candy. When the family was reunited in New York, Mary was engaged as a demonstrator in a Brooklyn department store and became the principal wage-earner for the four Gishes. They lived in rooms on West Thirty-ninth Street, near Pennsylvania Station. The final crisis occurred when James failed to pay the $3 weekly installment on the furniture Mary had bought on time. The bedroom suite was repossessed, and James Leigh Gish walked, or was sent, out of the lives of his wife and daughters. He made several reappearances, begging to be allowed to return. Mary was adamant in refusing to reconcile until he proved able to support the family. But James never reformed. The marriage was over and a legal separation was secured. Whenever James resurfaced in their lives, Mary feared that he, abetted by the Freemasons, would abduct one of the girls. Lillian was terrified that he would separate her from her mother and sister. She once asked if her mother would ever remarry. Mary Gish replied, "Your father destroyed me. Another man would destroy us." The girls' attachment to Mary was profound, and so it remained until her death in 1948. Lillian presented her father's addiction as an essentially unfathomable aberration. "Why my father suddenly, and for no apparent reason, should renounce all responsibility and destroy himself with alcohol fills me with sad wonderment. It had not been inherited." How then to understand that her father had become a hopeless drunk? She looked to family for an explanation and found none. Her own, in particular, was a model of sobriety and reliability. "My mother's mother, my grandmother, died when she was twenty-eight and left four children...Families were closer then than now. And perhaps that is why America was, as we think, healthier. Because, what is America but one big family? And families make a country, good or bad." Again, personal history and national history meld, but neither account for the irresponsible, alcoholic James Leigh Gish. An ulterior comment on Lillian's father paints the classic dreamer with a brilliant scheme for success who, like so many others, needed only some money to prevent losing "his brain-child to others." There is no indication about the breed of brainchild that would have made his fortune. But as Lillian was fond of saying, he lavished upon his biological child a gift, without which she would not have persevered down the hard path of her career: "I think I was so lucky that my father gave me insecurity, that he put me out to work at five [sic]. That way I learned what it was like to work. And...to be hungry at times." The ethic of deprivation and hard work was fundamental to the American dream and to Lillian Gish's narrative of her life. She was never as popular with audiences as her friend Mary Pickford, but Lilllian Gish was the darling of New York intellectuals who otherwise disdained the crude sentimentalism of early silent pictures. Her stature as “a great screen tragedienne” was no accident, writes film historian Charles Affron, whose clear-eyed biography shows Gish carefully cultivating her image with the fan magazines, which always depicted “exquisitely fragile, ethereal” Lillian reading Shakespeare and thinking of higher things, while “pert, saucy” sister Dorothy had all the fun. “The dainty Dresden statue would outwork and outlive them all,” notes Affron, who unearths the less edifying facts airbrushed out of his subject’s memories yet retains his respect for her pioneering artistry. Gish emerges here as a stronger, savvier woman than we have met in previous accounts. MORE REVIEWSL.A. Theater Review: 'Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations'Film Review: ‘Smuggling Hendrix’The author’s fact-checking begins with Gish’s birth date, Oct. 14, 1893, which she began altering to 1896 virtually from the moment she joined the touring company of “In Convict Stripes” in 1902. She was only 8 years old, but she needed the work after her alcoholic father abandoned the family, and melodrama audiences liked their victims to be practically babies: “the younger the tot … the greater the thrill and pathos,” writes Affron with characteristic acuity. A later birth date also helped when Pickford introduced her in 1912 to D.W. Griffith, obsessed in classic Victorian fashion with barely pubescent heroines. Gish was a seasoned theater veteran who had realistically concluded that acting offered one of the few paths to financial security for a single woman, yet she could convey the innocent vulnerability Griffith wanted. The actress herself was no shrinking violet: Not yet Griffith’s clear favorite when “Birth of a Nation” was cast, she stood in for rival Blanche Sweet during a rehearsal and devised a sexy bit of business (unloosing her waist-length blond hair during the inevitable near-rape scene) that got her the starring role. Affron sardonically depicts Gish’s much-romanticized collaboration with Griffith as “an ongoing psychodrama, with the director getting his kicks out of sublimating his sexual aggression in the fiction at hand and the actress eagerly submitting to the punishment.”This is a pretty fair assessment of the physical and emotional rigors endured on films like “Way Down East” (Gish crawled across real ice floes during an actual blizzard for the climax) and “Broken Blossoms” (Griffith needled her into such hysteria for a scene filmed inside a tiny closet that she fainted when they stopped shooting at 2 a.m.). The author’s relentless emphasis on creative peoples’ neuroses can get a little tiresome, but it’s a useful corrective to the reverential tone Gish assumed in her memoirs. Chapters on Gish’s post-Griffith career also give a more full-bodied sense of her personality. Producer Charles Duell certainly abused Gish’s financial trust, but Affron shows the actress bolstering her case against Duell during a scandalous lawsuit by pressuring friends to deny that they had ever been lovers. (They probably were, the author concludes; Gish and Griffith probably weren’t.) Telegrams to her lawyers as her status at MGM deteriorated reveal an unapologetic businesswoman: “IF METRO FINDS ME TOO EXPENSIVE AT NEARLY TWO HUNDRED A PICTURE WHY DON’T THEY RELEASE ME WHEN WE FINISH THE WIND … FOR WHICH I EXPECT COMPENSATION,” she cabled in 1927. This was no blushing ingenue but a working professional who, when times changed and her screen persona was deemed old-fashioned, took herself to New York and fashioned a perfectly satisfactory second-tier career. She had a long affair with critic George Jean Nathan, enjoyed a few theatrical triumphs in the ensemble casts of Jed Harris’ 1930 production of “Uncle Vanya” and John Gielgud’s 1936 “Hamlet,” then uncomplainingly settled down to national tours and supporting roles. You have to admire someone who does her first Broadway musical at age 82 and grabs the best reviews in an Robert Altman film at 84. Affron obviously prefers the tough old trouper to the tireless standard-bearer for Griffith and silent films. This can lead him to be unfair, as in comments like “her illusory subservience to strong men [was] a posture that usually furthered her own ambitions.”But Affron’s idiosyncratic stance has the great virtue of making his narrative of the 65 years following Gish’s last great picture (“The Wind”) as interesting as the legendary decade with Griffith. Indeed, he makes persuasive links between them. The book is filled with lovely descriptions of Gish’s acting, emphasizing “the refinement of her gestures, the candor, the rapt stillness” of her movie work. Yet the most touching is the last, of her silent cameo at a 1984 Metropolitan Opera gala, reminding us that whatever the vicissitudes of her career, the essence of this 90-year-old actor’s “generous art” had never changed: Lillian Gish “taught audiences to hear the words she never spoke and, even more miraculously, to read her mind and heart.” StagePerformancesA Musical Jubilee [Broadway]Original Broadway Production, 1975PerformerUncle Vanya [Broadway]1973MaryinaI Never Sang for My Father [Broadway]1968Margaret GarrisonAnya [Broadway]Original Broadway Production, 1965Dowager EmpressToo True to Be Good [Broadway]1963Mrs. MopplyAll the Way Home [Broadway]1960Catherine LynchThe Trip to Bountiful [Broadway]1953Mrs. Carrie WattsThe Curious Savage [Broadway]1950EthelCrime and Punishment [Broadway]1947Katerina IvannaMr. Sycamore [Broadway]1942Jane GwiltDear Octopus [Broadway]1939Grace Fenning (Fenny)The Star-Wagon [Broadway]1937Martha MinchHamlet [Broadway]1936OpheliaWithin the Gates [Broadway]1934The Young WhoreThe Joyous Season [Broadway]1934Christina FarleyNine Pine Street [Broadway]1933Effie HoldenCamille [Broadway]1932Marguerite GautierUncle Vanya [Broadway]1930Yelena AndreyevnaUncle Vanya [Broadway]1930Yelena AndreyevnaA Good Little Devil [Broadway]1913Morganie In 1920, Lillian Gish both delivered a landmark performance in D.W. Griffith’s Way Down East and directed her sister Dorothy in Remodelling Her Husband. This was her sole director credit in a career as a screen actor that began with An Unseen Enemy in 1912 and ended with The Whales of August in 1987. Personal correspondence examined by biographer Charles Affron shows that Gish lobbied Griffith for the opportunity to direct and approached the task with enthusiasm. In 1920, in Motion Picture Magazine, however, Gish offered the following assessment of her experience: “There are people born to rule and there are people born to be subservient. I am of the latter order. I just love to be subservient, to be told what to do” (102). One might imagine that she discovered a merely personal kink. In a Photoplay interview that same year, however, she extended her opinion to encompass all women and in doing so slighted Lois Weber, one of Hollywood’s most productive directors. “I am not strong enough” to direct, Gish told Photoplay, “I doubt if any woman is. I understand now why Lois Weber was always ill after a picture” (29). What should historical criticism do with such evidence? Lillian (a/d/w) and Dorothy Gish. USWLillian (a/d/w) and Dorothy Gish. USW By far the most common approach has been to argue that Gish did not really mean what the press quotes her as saying. Alley Acker, for instance, urges us not to be fooled by Gish’s “Victorian modesty” and goes on to provide evidence of her authority on the set (62). Similarly, Affron argues that Gish’s assertions of subservience were partly self-serving. Self-effacement contributed to her star persona as “D.W. Griffith’s virginal, ethereal muse” (15). Gish cultivated this image throughout her career, and Affron finds it exemplified by the oft-repeated story of her masochistic performance in Way Down East’s 1920 ice floe rescue. A different Gish surfaces in an interview with Anthony Slide first published in 1970. There we encounter a decisive and resourceful woman who surmounted extraordinary practical difficulties in directing Remodelling Her Husband. In addition to directing, Griffith gave her the job of supervising completion of a new studio in Mamaroneck, New York. Neither subservience nor modesty inflect Gish’s assessment of the results: “We finished at 58 thousand dollars, and it made, I think, ten times what it cost, which not many films do today” (Slide 1977, 124). Gish also told Slide that she had wanted to make an “all-woman picture” and had recruited Dorothy Parker to write the titles. In the film, Dorothy Gish portrays a young wife who reforms her philandering husband by leaving him to work in her father’s business. Unfortunately, neither Affron nor Slide has been able to confirm Parker’s role, and no print is known to survive. Lillian Gish Albin (d/a) 1922. USWLillian Gish (a/d/w) 1922. USW When the biographical approach emphasizes the difference between Gish’s public persona and her private ambition, it invites us to see her demurral as a clever tactic. By identifying with “the weaker sex” she turns a low expectation of women to her own advantage. That Gish left behind such a large volume of paper makes this hypothesis extremely tempting. Not only have there been numerous published accounts of her life, but her papers, available through the New York Public Library, include personal correspondence, business documents, and scrapbooks spanning the years 1909-1992. In addition, her correspondence with Slide is available through the Margaret Herrick Library. These sorts of sources urge us to seek a more complicated woman behind the public star persona. A different source might shift focus to the terms of public discourse and allow us to ask if these terms were as conventionally fixed as the search for the private woman can make it appear. For instance, the Paramount-Famous Players press book (which suggested stories for exhibitors to plant in local papers) provides not one but two different ways to promote Remodelling Her Husband, the famous actress’s directorial debut. The first approach resembles the above-quoted Photoplay and Moving Picture Magazine articles, emphasizing Lillian’s “delicate physique” and her decision to abandon directing as too rigorous an endeavor. The second strategy, however, foregrounds her “prowess” and presents Dorothy as cajoling Lillian into the director’s chair. The studio publicity department thus promoted directing as something women might encourage their sisters to do while at the same time presenting women directors as an aberration in a profession that required masculine strength and discipline. How this apparently contradictory message played itself out in the trade press and the nation’s newspapers wants further explanation. Lillian Gish Albin (d/a) New York, 1922, LoCLillian Gish (a/d/w) New York, 1922. USW One could also take Gish’s remarks literally. After all, she advocates what would become the normative division of labor—women act, men direct—at a time when it was not clear that these work rules would, in fact, prevail. Similarly, while her praise of Griffith’s genius helped to ensure that her own contributions would be central to the story of American motion pictures, such veneration also promoted a particular version of historical events. By all accounts, Gish relished the role of spokesperson for silent film, and perhaps more work should consider her role as historian, critic, and theorist. Certainly Antonia Lant and Ingrid Periz aim to encourage such consideration by including Gish’s Encyclopedia Britannica article, “A Universal Language,” in their collection of women’s writing about the first fifty years of cinema. Echoes of Gish’s argument in that piece may be found in her less-known 1930 essay, “In Defense of the Silent Film.” With its conclusion that “Until the cinema returns from its prodigal excursion into sound it cannot expect to resume its logical development as an independent art” (230), the essay invites comparison with classic laments about the transition to sound from such filmmakers and film theorists as Bela Balazs, Rudolf Arnheim, Sergei Eisenstein, Vsevolod Pudovkin, and Grigori Alexandrov. In the essay, Gish writes with authority from her experience as an actor and names a wide range of directors she considers important—all of them men. Having pioneered screen acting from vaudeville entertainment into a form of artistic expression, actress Lillian Gish forged a new creative path at a time when more serious thespians regarded motion pictures as a rather base form of employment. Gish brought to her roles a sense of craft substantially different from that practiced by her theatrical colleagues. In time, her sensitive performances elevated not only her stature as an actress, but also the reputation of movies themselves. Her finest work came in the silent era, when she was dubbed The First Lady of the Silent Screen, thanks in large part to her many collaborations with director D.W. Griffith, which included "The Birth of a Nation" (1915), "Intolerance" (1916), "Broken Blossoms" (1919) and "Way Down East" (1920). In the 1920s, Gish was one of the most powerful performers in early Hollywood and signed a lucrative contract with MGM to star in more serious fare like "La Boheme" (1926), "The Scarlet Letter" (1926) and "The Wind" (1928); the latter of which marked what many considered to be her finest performance. With the advent of sound, Gish stepped away from the screen in favor of the Broadway stage, only to make intermittent supporting appearances in films like "Duel in the Sun" (1947), which earned the actress her only Oscar nomination. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, she appeared on stage and television, as well as in film, suiting herself with a wide range of supporting roles. As her career wound down in the 1970s and 1980s, Gish pulled off one last great performance opposite an equally elderly Bette Davis in "The Whales of August" (1987), which helped stake her claim as being one of the greatest actresses of any era. Born on Oct. 14, 1893 in Springfield, OH, Gish was raised by her father, James, a traveling salesman and her mother, Mary, a former actor and department store clerk. Before she ever really knew him, her alcoholic father abandoned the family and later died in 1912. Because her mother acted to support the family, Gish and her sister Dorothy were introduced to the stage at an early age. As a child, she made her stage debut in a tour of the play "In Convict Stripes" (1902) and was subsequently replaced by a young actress named Gladys Smith, who went on to become friend and early Hollywood star Mary Pickford. While acting, she continued with her education, attending several schools in Massillon, OH, from 1904-09, until settling in at the convent boarding school Ursuline Academy in East St. Louis, MO. In 1912, Gish moved with her mother and sister to New York City, where they were introduced by Pickford to director D.W. Griffith, who was so taken by both young actresses and their fragile beauty, that he brought them into the fold at the Biograph Company. While Griffith's contributions to cinema have been well-documented, his association with Lillian Gish was one of those rare times when two visions combined to revolutionize an art form. Gish was a firm believer in art as a higher ideal; she did not consider acting to be a mere profession. She soon came to share her director's opinion that film was a legitimate medium which inherently possessed more potential for artistic expression than the stage, and the pictures Griffith and Gish made together over nine years bore witness to that conviction. She made her film debut alongside Dorothy in Griffith's silent short, "An Unseen Enemy" (1912), and went on to star in a number of the director's early work including "The Painted Lady" (1912), "The Musketeers of Pig Alley" (1912) and "The Burglar's Dilemma" (1912). Though she was working steadily in film, Gish found the time to return to the New York stage for "A Good Little Devil" (1913), which starred Mary Pickford and was directed by David Belasco. Of course, Gish continued to work almost exclusively with Griffith, starring in a number of films that year including "The Unwelcome Guest" (1913), "The House of Darkness" (1913), and "The Mothering Heart" (1913), in which she played a pregnant wife deserted by her husband who loses her baby after giving birth. It was in challenging roles like "The Mothering Heart" that Gish was able master the art of restraint in her acting, particularly in close-ups, which became a hallmark of her technique. Unlike the arm-waving, eyelid-fluttering histrionics engaged in by other actresses - a method carried over from stage productions - Gish used small yet meaningful gestures to great effect. Meanwhile, she went to work with other directors like Christy Cabanne and Dell Henderson, starring in "During the Round-Up" (1913) and "A Modest Hero" (1913). But it was her continued work with Griffith that she best able to perfect her skills while helping the director elevate his craft with such memorable films as his groundbreaking epic "The Birth of a Nation" (1915), "Hearts of the World" (1917) and "Broken Blossoms" (1919). The last film featured her in a discomforting scene where she displayed a variety of emotions while getting beaten to death by her abusive father (Donald Crisp). Gish made several more pictures with Griffith, most notably "Way Down East" (1920) and "Orphans of the Storm" (1921), the former of which featured her most lasting image: floating unconscious on ice while heading for a waterfall. In fact, this iconic scene was so dangerous to shoot that, until the day she died decades later, Gish's right hand was impaired due to keeping it in the icy water for hours at a time to get the shot. At this point, she had earned a reputation for being able to wield great power and began taking more control of her career. She made two films for Inspiration Pictures before signing a five-picture deal with MGM in 1925. Because Gish's star image was intimately linked to her capabilities as a serious actress, MGM placed her in a series of literary adaptations, including "La Boheme" (1926), in which she played the consumptive Mimi, and "The Scarlet Letter" (1926), where she was the adulterous Hester Prynne. Unfortunately, with her prestigious stature came rising production costs, which cut into the profit margins of her pictures. Gish's best MGM film was "The Wind" (1928), a harrowing story of a genteel woman who is brutalized by a stranger in West Texas before shooting him and going mad. It was not only her last great performance in silent pictures, it would sadly also be her last successful starring role altogether. By the end of the 1920s, a new type of modern heroine, exemplified by Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford and Clara Bow, was in vogue, Gish's appeal was now regarded as somewhat prudish and dated. With the onset of talkies, she returned to Broadway to star alongside Osgood Perkins in a production of Anton Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya" (1930). After enjoying a stage triumph with "Camille" (1932), Gish made her last film for nearly a decade, "His Double Life" (1933), before concentrating solely on the stage. She returned to Broadway for a production of "Within the Gates" (1934), staged by Melvyn Douglas, before starring in "The Old Maid" (1936), Zoe Akins' adaptation of Edith Wharton's 1925 novel, The Mother's Recompense. Gish next played Ophelia in John Geilgud's staging of "Hamlet" (1936), before making stops in Baltimore and Chicago on a tour of "Life with Father" (1940). Almost a decade removed from the screen, Gish returned to films with a supporting turn in the war movie "Commandos Strike at Dawn" (1942), starring Paul Muni and Anna Lee. Following roles in "Top Man" (1943) and "Miss Susie's Slagle's" (1946), Gish achieved screen prominence again with her supporting performance in the David O. Selznick-produced Western "Duel in the Sun" (1947), which earned the actress her only Academy Award nomination. Though she recaptured her onscreen acclaim, Gish instead opted to make another return to the stage, this time starring opposite famed actor and teacher Sanford Meisner in "Crime and Punishment" (1947). After co-starring opposite Jennifer Jones in "Portrait of Jennie" (1948), Gish made her television debut in the "Philco Television Playhouse" presentation of "The Late Christopher Bean" (NBC, 1949). During this time, Gish was comfortable going back and forth between stage and screen, starring in "The Autobiography of Grandma Moses" (CBS, 1952) and originating the role of Carrie Watts in Horton Foote's teleplay for "The Trip to Bountiful" (NBC, 1953), which she reprised later that year on Broadway; both television special and stage production were directed by Vincent Donohue. After playing the maternal god-fearing Rachel Cooper in Charles Laughton's thriller "The Night of the Hunter" (1955), starring Robert Mitchum and Shelley Winters, Gish toured with sister Dorothy in "The Chalk Garden" (1956) before appearing in Berlin for "Portrait of a Madonna" (1957), a one-act written by Tennessee Williams that the playwright wrote for her and served as a prototype for his most famous character, Blanche Du Bois. Williams' one-act was actually part of a double bill for Gish, who also starred alongside Burgess Meredith in "The Wreck on the 5:25" (1957) by Thornton Wilder. Gish made her directing debut with a stage production of "The Beggar's Opera" (1958) and returned to the silver screen for a supporting turn in the John Huston Western "The Unforgiven" (1960), starring Burt Lancaster and Audrey Hepburn. She next appeared in the award-winning Broadway production of Tad Mosel's "All the Way Home" (1960), acted in a small screen version of "The Spiral Staircase" (NBC, 1961), and starred as Mrs. Moore in a Chicago staging of E.M. Forster's novel "A Passage to India" (1963). Even into her seventies, Gish found new ways to break personal ground when she made her Broadway musical debut as the Russian Dowager Empress in "Anya" (1965), which was based on the Ingrid Bergman-Yul Brenner drama "Anastasia" (1956). Following a featured role in the Disney movie "Follow Me Boys!" (1966), she co-starred alongside Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in "The Comedians" (1967). She returned to Broadway the following year to co-star in "I Never Sang for My Father" (1968) before being featured in a Mike Nichols-directed version of Chekhov's "Uncle Vanya" (1970), starring George C. Scott and Julie Christie. Gish's career wound down in the next decade, which began when she received an Honorary Academy Award in 1971 for her lifetime of achievement. A few years later, she delivered her final Broadway performance in "A Musical Jubilee" (1975) while hosting the series "The Silent Years" (PBS, 1975), which showcased films from the silent era. After appearing as a family matriarch who passes away in Robert Altman's "A Wedding" (1978), she made appearances in television movies like "Thin Ice" (CBS, 1981) and "Hobson's Choice" (CBS, 1983). Gish next starred in the ill-advised "Hambone and Hillie" (1984) before making her last television appearance, playing Mrs. Loftus in the four-part miniseries "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" (PBS, 1985). The following year, she was cast as the aged mother of a history professor (Alan Alda) in the comedy "Sweet Liberty" (1986) and made her final film appearance opposite Bette Davis in "The Whales of August" (1987), in which both played a pair of aged sisters. Gish delivered one of the best performances of her long career, only to be disappointed when the Academy failed to nominate her for an Oscar. Meanwhile, she made her last professional appearance with a cameo in Jerome Kern's "Showboat" (1988), where she delivered her last-ever line, "Good night, dear." Settling into retirement, Gish eventually passed away from natural causes on Feb. 27, 1993 at 99 years old. She left her estate to old friend and actress, Helen Hayes, who died less than a month after Gish. She was the archetypal silent film heroine — the delicate damsel in distress, fainting on an ice floe, cowering before a brutal bounder, languishing in a garret. She has been called “the first lady of the silent screen,” and film director D.W. Griffith extolled her “exquisite, ethereal beauty.” She was Lillian Gish, the star of movies, television, radio, and the stage for nearly all of the 20th century. Gish was born in Springfield, Ohio in October of 1893. She and her sister grew up in the theater, performing in melodramas for $10 a week. Beginning at the age of five, she performed in New York and with a traveling road company. From that young age Gish loved the theater, calling it a “beautiful, kind, generous, unselfish world.” Before she was ten she had danced with Sarah Bernhardt in New York, and debuted in D.W. Griffith’s AN UNSEEN ENEMY (1912). In the years they worked together, Gish and Griffith formed one of film’s famed collaborative teams. Sharing a passionate devotion to their work, they learned a great deal from each other. With her fragile, child-like beauty, Gish was the perfect Griffith heroine, starring in many of his most famous films. While working with Griffith, Gish would shoot a film in short intensive sessions. Of that time, she recalled, “We worked twelve hours a day, seven days a week, and we liked it because it was so interesting … We were all one family. We were after one thing: to get whatever that was up on the canvas perfect.” These early years spent with Griffith were Gish’s education as an actor. Among her more than two dozen films with him were THE BIRTH OF A NATION (1915), INTOLERANCE (1916), BROKEN BLOSSOMS (1919), WAY DOWN EAST (1919) and ORPHANS OF THE STORM (1922). Griffith’s visionary work expanded the possibilities of the medium, and for Gish this was a perfect testing ground for her budding talents. His long films and spontaneous directing approach gave Gish the opportunity to experiment with diverse elements in her acting style. Many of her trademark wistful gestures and contemplative looks were first tested in front of Griffith’s camera. By 1924, Gish had left Griffith for MGM, who had offered her an astounding $800,000 contract. At MGM she not only starred in, but made substantial contributions to the production of LA BOHEME (1926), THE SCARLET LETTER (1926), and THE WIND (1928). In the 1930s problems with the studio prompted Gish to leave Hollywood and resume a career on the stage. Performing in only a handful of films throughout the 1930s and 1940s, Gish concentrated on theater and radio. In 1948 she made her television debut in THE LATE CHRISTOPHER BEAN, and continued to appear on television regularly for the rest of her life. Gish’s complex and subtle style had been a revelation during the silent era, and though her popularity dwindled after the 1930s, her talent never did. Over the years she appeared in such fine films as DUEL IN THE SUN (1946), THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER (1955), THE UNFORGIVEN (1960), and her final work, THE WHALES OF AUGUST (1987). Gish’s ability to dazzle viewers with a complex range of emotions gave them insight into each character and a sense of intimacy. It was this intimacy that, over eighty-five years, brought her many characters to life. In summing up her career, Gish said “In the theater, I played with the best actors and tried never to get caught acting. I was never interested in money. … I just wanted films I’d be proud of because I felt they were permanent and I didn’t want to apologize for any of them.”

PicClick Insights PicClick Exclusive
  •  Popularity - 457 views, 15.2 views per day, 30 days on eBay. Super high amount of views. 0 sold, 1 available.
  •  Price -
  •  Seller - 576+ items sold. 0% negative feedback. Great seller with very good positive feedback and over 50 ratings.
Similar Items