The Griffith Actresses

The Griffith Actresses

The Griffith Actresses

The Griffith Actresses

Excerpt

David Wark Griffith was born in Crestwood, Kentucky, on January 22, 1875; he was the fourth son of Jacob Wark Griffith, a one- time Confederate colonel. In 1908 he joined the American Biograph Company as an actor, after having been previously employed in the same capacity by the Edison Company. On July 14, 1908, his first film as a director, The Adventures of Dollie , was released. His last production, The Struggle , was released on December 10, 1931. He died in Hollywood on July 23, 1948.

That, in one cold precise paragraph, sums up the career of D. W. Griffith, the man who not only invented screen syntax, but also--and more importantly--gave the cinema the most precious gift of all, beauty. That beauty he presented to film audiences to a large extent through the actresses whom he used in his productions, actresses who studied individually might appear to have little in common but who together had one major common denominator: they were all Griffith Girls.

What made a Griffith girl? Physically, they were all small, slim, and young, the last attribute perhaps being the most important. "We pick the little women because the world loves youth, and all its wistful sweetness. . . . Youth with its dreams and sweetness, youth with its romance and adventure! For in the theater, as in our families, we look to youth for beauty and often for example. We sit in the twilight . . .

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