December 8, 2010

Actress Lillian Gish Retrospective at MoMA, NYC

Lillian Gish 
MoMA, New York
The Roy and Niuta Titus Theaters
Through December 13, 2010

LILLIAN GISH in True Heart Susie. 1919. USA. 
Directed by D. W. Griffith (*). 
Courtesy of The Museum of Modern Art.

American film actress LILLIAN GISH (1893 - 1993) enjoyed a seventy-five-year career with roles in over one hundred films—about half of which are included in the Museum's collection—including such landmark works as her debut film, An Unseen Enemy, a Biograph short made in 1912 by D. W. Griffith; and her last silent picture, The Wind (1928). Though she is frequently characterized as a waifish portrait of fragility, Gish’s characters in films such as Way Down East (1920), Orphans of the Storm (1922), The Scarlet Letter (1926), and The Night of the Hunter (1955) embodied female resilience in the face of abandonment, persecution, and mortal peril. This retrospective, drawn entirely from the Museum’s collection, presents a rare opportunity to examine the breadth of Gish’s career and represents MoMA's early and steadfast dedication to collecting seminal works of film history

Organized by Jenny He, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Film.

This exhibition is presented in conjunction with MoMA’s publication of Modern Women: Women Artists at The Museum of Modern Art.

(*) TRUE HEART SUSIE, 1919. USA. Directed by D. W. Griffith. Screenplay by Marian Fremont. With Lillian Gish, Robert Harron. The epitome of the "plain and simple girl", Susie (Lillian Gish) sells her beloved cow Daisy to secretly pay the college tuition of William (Robert Harron), the oblivious love of her life, who goes on to marry someone else. Although undertones of the martyr figure reverberate throughout many of her roles, this overt portrayal of sacrifice, one of her more restrained and naturalistic performances, highlights Gish’s peerless ability to communicate longing. Silent, with musical accompaniment by Stuart Oderman. 68 min. T2.


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