Old Movie Teams

Weren’t they also in that other movie?

Lillian Gish & Dorothy Gish

Lillian and Dorothy Gish appear on screen together in a total of 25 films, all from the silent-film era. Nineteen of those films are two-reel short pieces, often presenting the sisters as not much more than extras or bit players. Their roles do progress to greater prominence with the 1918 silent feature Hearts of the World. Orphans of the Storm (1921) and Romola (1924) are the only other feature-length movies in which they appear together in significant roles. They do collaborate in the 1920 film Remodeling Her Husband, but not as performers. For this film, Dorothy appeared in front of the camera while Lillian tried her hand behind the camera as the movie’s director.

Their only other mutual appearance in a feature-length motion picture occurs in the 1925 Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ, but one would be hard pressed to find them since they are mere extras in the crowd scenes from the chariot race.

Both sisters continued separately to take on roles now and then in motion pictures throughout the rest of their lives. Lillian, in fact, was 93 years old in her final movie role, the 1987 release of The Whales of August, and also garnered Academy Award nominations for her performances in the 1946 Duel in the Sun and the 1955 Night of the Hunter. Nonetheless, for all practical purposes, they do not appear together in any feature-length films since 1925. Their collaborations did continue, however. In 1950, they alternated playing in live theatre the female lead in the Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse adapation of Clarence Day’s Life with Father. They also appeared together on television in the 1956 The Alcoa Hour production of Robert Wallstens’ adaptation of the Paul Osborn play Morning’s at Seven.

Here is a list of their motion picture collaborations:

Short Two-reel films:
The Musketeers of Pig Alley (1912)
An Unseen Enemy (1912)
The New York Hat (1912)
So Near, Yet So Far (1912)
The Painted Lady (1912)
The Burglar’s Dilemma (1912)
The Informer (1912)
Two Daughters of Eve (1912)
My Baby (1912)
A Cry for Help (1912)
Brutality (1912)
Gold and Glitter (1912)
The Lady and the Mouse (1913)
Oil and Water (1913)
Just Gold (1913)
Man’s Enemy (1914)
The Rebellion of Kitty Belle (1914)
The Sisters (1914)
A Duel for Love (1914)

Feature-length Films:
Judith of Bethulia (1914)
Home, Sweet Home (1914)
Hearts of the World (1918)
Remodeling Her Husband (1920)
Orphans of the Storm (1921)
Romola (1924)
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925)

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