That same year, in The
Mothering Heart, Lillian started
showing signs of the emotional power hidden in the seemingly
frail and hauntingly beautiful actress. Griffith utilized
Lillian's aura to its fullest to develop the image of the
suffering heroine. She also demonstrated an intense anger
as shown in the same film, when she beats a bush after the
death of her child. This intensity was present in all her
films thereafter. Broken Blossoms
is arguably Lillian's greatest silent film. The terror she
expressed as her drunken father breaks down the door to the
closet she was hiding in was communicated directly to the
audience. She displayed that same intensity in Way
Down East, when she baptizes a dying
baby and in The Wind,
where she roams, dying, through the streets of Montmartre.
In 1920, she directed Dorothy Gish in
Remodeling Her Husband and in 1922
she made Orphans in the Storm,
her last film under Griffith's direction. She joined Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
in 1924 and made her first "talkie"
One Romantic Night in 1930. She
then returned to the stage in Uncle Vanya.
During the 1930s Lillian began working in radio. She made
her television debut in 1948 with the Philco Playhouse production
The Late Christopher Bean. In 1969,
Lillian began giving the film lecture "Lillian Gish and the
Movies: The Art of Film, 1900-1928."
Lillian has been honored with many of the motion picture industry's
top honors, including an honorary Academy Award, The American
Film Institute Life Achievement Award and the D.W. Griffith
Award for lifetime achievement.
Lillian's combination of fragility and strength, as well as
her rare beauty and brilliant performance on screen, made
her one of the greatest stars in silent films. She will always
be remembered as one of the pioneers in the motion pictures
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