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The Movies, Mr Griffith And Me

4.13  ·  Rating Details  ·  190 Ratings  ·  23 Reviews
Colorful, lively, and moving memoir of a giant of the early screen, actress Lillian Gish. Her story is inseparable with the history of the movies, from the early days, when the pioneers of the industry worked long hours through hardship and cold, public criticism through the horrors of war, and the proverty of the Depression. She knew them all: Mary Pickford, Greta Garbo, ...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published March 3rd 1988 by Virgin Books (first published 1969)
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Joseph Longo
Sep 20, 2012 Joseph Longo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I recommend this biography of actress Lillian Gish. Gish started acting on stage when she was four years old, at the start of the last century. She became a major silent film star. She died at ninety-nine and was still acting on stage, screen and television into her eighties. Gish was one of D.W. Griffith's leading ladies and his biggest star. Griffith was a silent film director who essentially created filmic story telling. The best part of the biography is Gish's closeness to Griffith and her d ...more
Graceann
Nov 27, 2007 Graceann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Memoir Fans
Shelves: memoir
Lillian Gish glosses over quite a little bit, I'm sure, but that doesn't make this read any less entertaining. She was in the movies almost from the very beginning, and her stories will always be interesting to anyone who cares about film.
Jenny
Fascinating story of Gish's life and the people she knew in the early days of the film business.
Steffi
This book is very very interesting. Not only is it an autobiography of one of the most distinguished actresses of the last century, it also offers a view on the early days of film making; the reader is witnessing the birth of many of the modern film techniques, and gains knowledge about the beginnings of an industry. It also doubles as a part biography of D.W. Griffith, who was responsible for practically inventing all these techniques. Lillian Gish writes like the lady she apparently was, with ...more
Karla
I read this book at least a dozen times back in high school, and some of the first silent films I ever saw were D.W. Griffith's early Biographs thanks to this book and a bunch of junky public domain VHS tapes at the local video store. Of course, now that time has wore on and I've read a broader selection of books about the era and the people in Gish's orbit, there's an obvious haze of selective memory and reinvention in this memoir. But no matter. This is one of the first books I ever read about ...more
Linda
Jul 19, 2008 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lillian Gish is one of the first movie stars and it's too bad that today's stars aren't more like her. She is graceful and elegant and a woman of character. This book was enjoyable because you got to know her, but also learn about the beginning of film making.

My only complaint is that a large portion of the book is truly a D.W. Griffith biography and not as much about Lillian. But on the flip side of that, when she stops talking about Griffith, the book isn't as interesting.

Overall...a great r
...more
Richard
Apr 26, 2015 Richard rated it really liked it
I wouldn't go so far as to say that this book is essential reading for those who are interested in the silent movie era, but it's probably just a notch or two below essential. Lillian Gish was one of the most important figures of the era, and her story is certainly worth reading.

I don't think I had fully appreciated how serious Lillian Gish was about her craft. I should have guessed; she starting acting as a small child and continued into her nineties. Gish's stories about the making of her film
...more
Phil Ford
Jul 01, 2013 Phil Ford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lillian Gish and D.W. Griffith are perhaps the two most important figures in early film. At the time, Griffith was making movie and after movie, ground-breaking in scope and technique while Gish was creating one of the most memorable dignified movie star personaes around. I find Gish a fascinating person, with her kind of Victorian sensibility thrown headlong into the modern world of movie-making as she spins her POV of the excitment and experiment that was early filmmaking. She makes for some i ...more
Kyle
Dec 06, 2011 Kyle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So strangely enough I've become a bit of a silent film buff (well D.W. Griffith's films anyways). It all started with a wonderful chapter describing Griffith's 1916 epic Intolerance in the novel Mendoza in Hollywood by Kage Baker. I was fascinated by the movie and have been working my way through Griffith's other works. Griffith tended to use the same actors and actresses so I've become interested in their lives too, which led me to pick up this Lillian Gish autobiography.

I learned that Gish was
...more
Liz
Sep 21, 2015 Liz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating look at the early days of movie-making. Learned a lot about DW Griffith. Lillian Gish learned all aspects of making a movie from him. He even gave her the chance to direct a movie when he had to be elsewhere -- she did it but did not want to do it again. In the early days when she worked with Griffith the actors were their own costumers, make-up artists, prop people, etc. She even helped in editing the movies and was able to provide suggestions. During her long career she saw a lot ...more
Suilyaniz Cintron
A wonderful biography on one of my favorite actresses, the legendary Lillian Gish. It is fascinating to read about the time of silent films from someone who actually lived through it. If you are a fan of Lillian Gish or silent films in general then this book is a must read. Loved it!
Brooke Stephenson
I have a deep live and respect for the movies of the silent era and upon reading one biography (without laying down - Frances Marion) I quickly accumulated a list of biographies and period books to read up on the subject.
I didn't know much about lillian Gish, but had seen a few of her movies over the year. The book itself is well written and follows her career with d.w. Griffith, teetering off near the end as she had limited contact with him in the later years of his life.
Ms Gish is a strong pe
...more
Bonni Sweet
Jan 22, 2014 Bonni Sweet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book. She not only told about movie making but gave a lot of credit to the man who helped her along the way. A lot of people who become famous forget about the people who helped them out.
Emily
Jul 17, 2007 Emily rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is utterly fantastic!!!!!!!! If you are at all interested in filmmaking or acting, you should read it. D.W. Griffith is my new hero. He invited film as we know it. Reading about how he created the close-up and a million other famous shots and conventions is astounding. His vision is one of the clearest and most influential in the 20th century. And Lillian's writing is irresistible -- her tales of growing up in touring companies is incredible. I'm not even finished yet, and I know I wil ...more
Helen Brooke
Oct 06, 2013 Helen Brooke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I discovered Lillian Gish early last year, when researching Early 20th Film and how it effects todays media. I was immediately in love with her, her acting, even though there was none speech in those years. I was interesting how D.W.Griffith came up ideas of Intolerance and how it uses such matters like WW1, Slavery etc. This was taken from her point of view, and you can imagine what was going on in those years and her private life with her Sister Dorothy and her mother. This book is for any fil ...more
Magid
Jun 19, 2007 Magid rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Silent movie lovers
According to her autobiography, Lillian Gish was an absolute angel who never did 'it' with anyone, who never had a bad review, and who really did love the negroes, because, you see, it was the fault of the white man that they had become so evil and corrupted. Someone was once nasty to her, so she sued them.
Annette
Oct 06, 2013 Annette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Despite the author's rather detached style, this is a fascinating look at the very early days of the American movie business. Gish was a major player in director D. W. Griffith's film company, and she describes his methods, his genius and his eventual fall from grace.
Ida Rand
Feb 12, 2009 Ida Rand rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
eh, 100 pages on birth of a nation, but interesting when you think about what a mess the whole movie industry started out as. seems so much more fun then than now but im a romantic.
Gilly
Jul 13, 2008 Gilly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had no idea how much one man influenced what we see in movies today. Well worth reading as a history of early motion pictures, as well as the story of a fascinating and talented woman.
Shirley
The thing about Tobias Wolff - he knows humanity - all our foibles - and his writing is so clear-eyed, relentless, and declarative.
Mary Narkiewicz
Jan 25, 2014 Mary Narkiewicz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a great autobiography which I could not put down, and did not want to put down.. it's on my to -read- again list.
Monica
I read this in high school and have never lost my love of silent film and this amazing woman.
Tom Newth
Jan 18, 2012 Tom Newth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
what a great lady.
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Lillian Diana Gish was an American stage, screen and television actress whose film acting career spanned 75 years, from 1912 to 1987. The longevity of her career earned her the nickname "The First Lady of American Cinema".

She 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 Griffith's seminal Birth of
...more
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