More To Come........
It's a shame to hear that about Lillian Gish. We've been following the Hollywood history series and in fact had a talk after part 2 about being able to seperate the art from the artist. We cited Leni Riefenstahl and Roman Polanski along with Griffith.
I actually thought of you when we were watching when we learned that Bob Balaban was related to the cinema owners that introduced air conditioning to movie theaters. Did you already know that?
oy is right! I too feel her acting was just fantastic! And I even have the book she is holding in the one photo "Gish"!! It is very hard to be a fan of a person once you know "certain" things about them, but then, there are times when their talent wins out.. she is one of those times.
I still enjoy one of her last movies "The Whales of August" every now and then
I agree it is very sad to learn that. Especially when you had found her to be a gracious and kind gentlewoman. There is NO excuse for antisemitism and racism. None!
There was a lot of ignorance back then and it was much easier, I suppose, to accept the way things had been for generations.
One would have hoped that WW2 would have banished all dangers of antisemitism for ever. Sadly and shamefully that hasn't happened. I don't know what the answer is.
That was a real eyeopener about Birth of a Nation, Lillian Gish and Woodrow Wilson. Good grief.
That will probably keep me from watching that movie.
Sad to think at what a nice woman she was when race was removed from the equation.
In the long term, I think it's better to discover our idols have feet of clay than to remain ignorant of their faults. The fact of the matter is, human beings are bound to disappoint us, in one way or another. The best we can do is be forgiving, but set ourselves on the correct path, knowing that we to will fail someone sometime and will need that forgiveness, as well.
Oh! I am disappointed to know that...It's very sad...
I enjoy one of her last movies, "The Whales of August". Very moving film.
Have a nice week ahead, my dear Naomi!
I've learnt in life that people are never all bad, in fact I was going to write a post about this. Sometimes a person can believe or do things that are completely alien to me, but there are other things they do that are wonderful.
Try and focus on the good rather than the bad. :) Good people do bad things.
I find discrimination rather distasteful---even when it took place long ago. I wonder if the times impacted her beliefs? Thanks for sharing another bit of history, Naomi.
I'd only heard of the name Lillian Gish, but did not know her contribution to film, and have never caught a silent film (wouldn't know where to...Netflix, maybe?). I feel like I'm missing out on something, so I will do the research. Thanks for sharing a bit of your time with her in 1951 with us. Sorry to hear she was a racist; I'm glad you didn't know that then.
I also have never seen Birth of a Nation other than clips. I think we have to understand people are so often a product of their times and their family views. It's sad as racism is such a huge limitation and really worse for the racist than those they seek to judge. They just don't know it.
Yes, those were different times, racism, anti-semitism, Social Darwinism. Everyone believed they were superior to someone. Her kindness and professionalism just goes to show, everyone has a good side, it's how much of the good they put forward and how much of the ugly they control that really shows their true character. She was probably racist because that was the way she was raised. My mother to this day is very racist and no amount of correcting, educating or explaining will ever change that. I think some people use prejudice as a safety blanket for their own insecurities and fears. They tell themselves they are better, more popular, stronger, genetically superior, whatever, rather than face the cold hard truth that we're more the same in our genes than different and no one race is really superior to another. I personally find it very intellectually and culturally lazy to be racist rather than moving yourself forward out of the darkness of racism and ignorance.
I have not seen that movie, but I do know of Lillian Gish. It is too bad that your good memories of her have to be tainted by the knowledge that she was a racist and anti-semite. It would be interesting to know what precipitated that opinion.
Been there. I still meet people, admire them for some reason, then BOOM--the ugly comes out. It is hard...with most I say--good-bye. Actors, yes all about the art, and yet...
The hardest thing is family members. I love my aunt Vi, everyone loves aunt Vi but her ignorance and ism's are too much for me. I speak my mind, love the good parts and endure the ugly. History will expose and handle the ugly. (I did not know about Gish and I have always admired her work. As I began your post, I thought, "I must see that movie!" now---not so much.
As for Wilson, well, that pretty much tells it all, except now the KKK wants to take all of America back. Cup of tea, anyone?
Thank you for the history lesson.
The black and white images are really impactful.
It is a shame that Ms. Gish and President Wilson did not know better. I like to think that if they were born to a later generation, they would.
Cheers to some changes being for the better.
the Woodrow Wilson quote sounds a lot like the words of today's Tea Party
they simply substitute white man with patriot
disturbing in so many ways
I didn't know much about Lillian Gish other than some TV appearances in her late years
she reminded me of a kind grandma
I guess we all have our demons
Aren't people a strange mix of contradictions? From working backstage I know how appreciated such kindness and respect is from the stars and actors. I have worked with far too many who treated those who worked backstage as insignificant (and a fair proportion who were downright rude). It seems weird that such a thoughtful person would be so ignorant and bigoted. I really don't understand racism at all.
Thanks for sharing these memories of yours. Your recollections of these past starts and of the times you had in theatre are always fascinating!
Very insightful...I was intriqued because I grew up in Ohio and went to Bowling Green State University where the theatre is in her name; the Gish Theatre. She performed at The Little Red School House in Rising Sun, Ohio which is in close proximity to my hometown of Tiffin, Ohio.
What to do when a 'persona' disappoints? I have a difficult time with this reality and perhaps it is best to separate her talents from who she was as a person; is that possible?
Following your thoughts and insight, I just come to think about:
Why do I prefere TCM as my #1 Film Channel?
Am I too old for new productions or do I miss some quality in conversation and scenarios?
Or, am I thinking too much Theatre.
Well, the sound has been very much better since the craddle of movies. So have effects and brightness as well.
But, does these facts make a story better? Does it gives me better entertaiment? Something I will remember for years to come?
Well, I've asked some questions, and your blog is a good answere.
It has nothing to do with nostalgica, it has something to do with quality. I simply demand more than 90 minutes entertaiment, then next and next and next.
Instead I read and write blogs.
btw. The weekend to come we will see our grandson again. This time in Frankfurt, Germany. It's about time, since we have not seen him since August. Now he walks and talks;)
Hey there my friend.. how are things.. i have been absent way to long. wish I had more time to visit and chat with my friends.. but lately i have been struggling with time.. I wish i had more time to watch tv also. this sounds interesting.. glad to hear you go to know her a little.. Hope you have wonderful memories of your meeting her..
Racism still blows my mind. I find it hard to understand how any one human being can believe they are any better than any other human being. But I think education is the key to wiping the world from this. And fear of losing what little you have...so many uneducated people or simple people are so afraid they are going to lose something so they prefer to believe they are in some way superior because of their skin color. And then I find some racists and anti-semites to just be plain mean, stupid and crazy! If only we could all have loving hearts ♥
Hi Naomi! I have heard of Lillian Gish but really didn't know anything about her. It sounds like she was very gracious and sweet back when you met her back in 1951 (before I was born!! Yikes!). Too bad about her dark side. I liked what R. Sherman said and agree with his comment.
Congratulations on your 40 years of no smoking! Can you imagine how much the habit would cost now? It's a very expensive habit these days. I'm so thankful I never took it up.
Hope you and Sweetie are doing well. xxoxx
naomi, this was a fascinating read, a beautiful photo essay and all completely an introduction for me! my instinct is to recoil from the antisemitic info. but i do get what you're saying about separating the art from the artist. really interesting food for thought here!!
Fasinating. Who knew? It really is mindboggling and hard for me to bring such contradictory parts of of a person together. Even the picture on the cover of Birth of a Nation looks like frightening propaganda.
I think one can admire Miss Gish for her acting. She was great at her art but poor at her world views. I love you wondering if she would have given the 30 bucks if she knew that 50% was Jewish...LOL
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