Lillian Gish (1984)

Genres - Film, TV & Radio, History  |   Sub-Genres - Biography  |   Run Time - 54 min.  |   Countries - France  |  
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Interviewed in her charming New York apartment at the age of 88, the indomitable Lillian Gish (her last name an Anglicized version of Guiche), comes across as the knowledgeable, talented, and beguiling woman of her many publicity releases. Gish recounts how she and her sister Dorothy first started working for D.W. Griffith after Mary Pickford, their former collegue in New York, persuaded Griffith to add both Gish sisters to his repertory. Gish goes on to talk about her first, popular movies with Griffith - such as the racist, radical, and cinematically brilliant Birth of a Nation. A few personal bits of information are revealed in the interview, such as the fact that when Griffith took Dorothy and Lillian, as well as their mother Mary on location in England in 1918 to film Hearts of the World, Mary Gish's health declined and she never fully recovered (she died in 1948). If French actress and director Jeanne Moreau had focused on similarly untapped areas of the great thespian's life, the documentary would have been all the more interesting. As it stands, Gish still carries the show with ease and grace.