1911-12 films of Lionel Barrymore

THE BATTLE: Wagon Driver In 1911, Lionel Barrymore, not entirely hot off the New York stage, wandered into DW Griffith's office and asked for a job. He recounts the great director was dubious about hiring "stage stars", to which LB replied "I am no such thing". In any case, Lionel Barrymore was first seen (verifiably!) in Griffith's short film The Battle, 1911, as a wagon driver who is shot. All told, he appears in the film for approximately 5-6 seconds:


Right about here, he is shot:
Screengrabs from online version of the film, available by subscription at Alexander Street 

 
NOT FOUND ON THIS PAGE: The Miser's Heart; I've looked at it over and over, and I'm sorry, but "Jules" is not Lionel Barrymore. I'm not sure WHO he is. But LB is not in this film.I've also looked at the physical frame of the man playing Jules, and he is shorter than LB's 5'10" and MUCH slighter than Barrymore would have been--see his Grizzley Fallon in 1912's Friends to see what I mean. Here's a screengrab of Jules the thief--he's a short, little guy!



HOME FOLKS: Unknown, 1912. Released June 6, 1912. This film was another short by Griffith, filmed in California mid-year at his studio, camerawork by Billy Bitzer, with Mary Pickford, Bobby Herron, HB Walthall, and Mae Marsh. According to the amazing and exhaustive Pickford Film Legacy page, this film is at MoMA in the 1995 Pickford Collection in nitrate. Film Affinity has this cast: HOME FOLKS

Here's Moving Picture World, June 22, 1912:
 Into this simple pastoral Biograph has put its best. It is a plain tale of plain people. The adornment is in the acting, chiefly of father and daughter, although mother and son do the full share that the lines lay upon them. The father is of the stern, Puritanical type; whiskers, no mustache, long coat; his Bible is always by him. Every small community has at least one of him, and every small community will immediately recognize the very man in the mind of the writer of the scenario. The father forbids the son and daughter going to the barn dance. The son disobeys. Castigated, verbally and physically, beyond endurance, the son puts in a couple of stiff ones to the paternal jaw. It is hard to repress "Hit him again!" The son is thrown out. The sister gathers her savings and lets herself out of her window to get the small sum to her brother. It is a pretty illustration of a sister's devotion. The father warns the family the son's name is not again to be spoken. The portrayal of the cowed and shrinking mother and daughter is notable. Well, the son gone, the family moves to new fields. The blacksmith comes to board with them. He falls in love with Mary; she, strangely enough, also with him. The son writes home; the father refuses to listen to the letter. Mary and the blacksmith are married, and the latter goes to town. The son comes home. The husband, returning earlier than expected, sees Mary and her brother embracing. Mary and her mother take the son into the room where the father sits asleep. When he awakes he orders out the son. Mary calls his attention to the fact that in his hand there is the collar and tie he tore from the neck of his boy when he threw him out. The father takes his son in his arms. About this time the blacksmith, unable longer to stand the pressure, breaks into the room. Abashed, he drags Mary into the next room to put on her shoulders the new coat he had brought her; he failed, however, to recover in time the note he had left in the coat telling of his intended departure. There are some tense moments in the telling of this gripping story.
This came up from bowdoin.edu as "Home Folks" (1912) film, but the img link says "Maine folk"
Pathe title card for this film from film affinity

 FRIENDS: Grizzley Fallon Released September 23, 1912. The first film in which Lionel Barrymore was called upon to act a part with an actual name! This extant short film, also directed by Griffith, features HB Walthall, Mary Pickford, and Harry Carey as well as LB. For the first of a very few times, Lionel Barrymore gets the girl whom both Fallon and Walthall's "Dandy Jack" love, played by Mary Pickford. This film can be viewed for free online, too! It's a lovely little film. LB speaks of it fondly in his bio.




LB's first appearance in a role with a name--even on the title card!
Dora is not too impressed with Fallon at first
...but after Dandy Jack leaves, he is able to move in shyly!
And he ends up with the girl, but his friend Jack isn't too upset.
For the first time ever, Lionel got the girl in a film. It only took him 3 films!

SO NEAR YET SO FAR: "In Club", so as an extra of sorts in a club, wearing a tuxedo (quite a change from Fallon!) Released September 30, 1912. Directed by DW Griffith. Mary Pickford, Bobby Harron, Walter Miller, and LB. LetterboxD tells us: "Walter Miller loves Mary Pickford, but he is very shy and doesn't dare to speak up, so she prefers Bobby Harron [who is also in the club scene with LB]. All perfectly natural. But one morning when he is nursing a hangover, Elmer Booth and Harry Carey break into her apartment and threaten her, until Walter rushes in to her rescue."https://letterboxd.com/film/so-near-yet-so-far/

Click here to watch on youtube: So Near Yet So Far 1912 
The Pickford Foundation has a better 
Screengrab of LB in tails at the club our hero will walk into
LB and our hero, Howard, played by Walter Miller
Howard is drunk...



THE CHIEF'S BLANKET: The Young Man Released Oct 10, 1912. Blanche Sweet and LB in a western short by Griffith.  Not much info on the film. An article from a UWisc-Madison professor, Gregory S Jay, notes this: "The Chief's Blanket: A Story of an Indian's Sacrifice (1912) [attribution to Griffith uncertain]"https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/gjay/www/Whiteness/griffith.htm It may then be extant at the Library of Congress.

Scenes from this film have been mislabeled for years as from Fighting Blood  (and once from Oil & Water). LB was not in Fighting Blood. 


MPWorld reviews, Oct-Dec 1912


THE ONE SHE LOVED: The Neighbor Released Oct 21, 1912. HB Walthall is the husband, Mary Pickford the wife, and LB the neighbor who is involved in this drama filmed in New Jersey. Lillian Gish is also in it! 
Lillian Gish, The One She Loved (era?)

LB as Neighbor and L. Gish in The One She Loved

THE PAINTED LADY: Man at Fair Released October 24, 1912. An intriguing little Griffith film with Blanche Sweet as the older sister who is more saintly but more lonely than her younger sister, Madge Kirby, and a whole host of Griffith-ites are  in the film, including LB, Christy Cabanne, the Gish sisters, Harry Carey, Bobby Harron.... available online to watch, too!

Blanche Sweet as the Older Sister
LB in the center with fake mustache

Bobby Harron (Jack Pickford?) and Harry Carey (I believe), LB center rear


HEREDITY: Woodsman Released Nov 4, 1912.  RAFTS of Griffith-ites here: Harry Carey as "White Renegade Father", Madge Kirby as "Indian Mother", Jack Pickford as their son... Christy Cabanne, LB, Bobby Harron, Alfred Paget... This film seems to be lost, though the poster is extant. Professor Jay's article linked above has this as the Biograph Bulletin title: Heredity: The Call of the Blood Is Answered (1912). Interestingly, the very idea of heredity and eugenics was being very widely discussed at this time. allmovie.com has this summary: "Synopsis by Hal Erickson:  Nine-year-old Nedda (Madge Evans) is a direct descendant of the Trevors, a family that can trace its roots back to the reign of King Charles I. Alas, the Trevors suffer severe financial reverses, and Nedda is yanked from the luxury of her ancestral home in Britain to be raised on New York's Lower East Side. Ten years later, the grown-up Nedda (Barbara Castleton) stands accused of the murder of her mother. How this came about, and who really "done it," is revealed through a prismatic series of flashbacks. A hint: Nedda's veddy proper father Ralph is not all that he seems."



GOLD AND GLITTER: The Lover Released Nov 11, 1912. Once more, Lionel gets the girl! Lillian Gish starred as the Young Woman who ends up in the Lover's brawny arms. Harry Carey, Dorothy Gish, Grace Lewis, and other Griffith folk are in this.  It may exist (Affron speaks of it in his bio of Lillian Gish) and has a typically fantastic AB poster:

THE MASSACRE**Unknown if he is in it. Griffith directed and 1912 and released in Europe that year (November 12), but only released in the US in February of 1914--see the 1913-14 film page for more on this!

MY BABY: At Table Released Nov 14, 1912. A host of Griffith players appear in this comedy. Mary Pickford and Lillian Gish appear in a still from the Pickford foundation collection with LB wearing white gloves:







THE INFORMER: Union Soldier Released November 21, 1012. According to the NE Pennsylvania film office, this 35 minute film "was filmed in 1912 and was the first silent commercial film completed in the U.S. It was directed by D.W. Griffith and written by George Hennessy." (Sure...) It is of course a US Civil War film, made primarily in Milford, PA. IN 2009, the Pike County, PA historical society screened its copy of this film. It has been shown at several film festivals. This may be the film about which Mr. B says in his bio, he was one of several soldiers who needed to die extravagantly, and he staggered about to die under the eaves of the house, as did the rest of the actors. Griffith yelled at them to die like men out in the open, and Mr. B recalls a horse's hoof missing his head by an inch.
Henry B Walthall and Lillian Gish
According to the exhaustive work done at The Mary Pickford L of C report page, "in February of 2000, Jere Guldin, Film Preservationist at UCLA, contacted the LC about some decomposing material donated to the archive from "The Informer." Guldin believed that footage from the film's beginning (which was in fair condition) could be useful for the LC's future restoration. To date the LC had only began the process by combining material from two nitrate prints in the AFI/Pickford Collection. After reviewing all of the archive's film elements of "The Informer" and comparing it with the cutting continuity on file with the US Copyright office, I was able to determine that the best version was the LC's camera negative. Though scenes are out of order and the intertitles are missing, all the shots are accounted for. Nevertheless, Jere Guldin's discovery is important because the material contains the opening intertitle found in the cutting continuity, but not in any surviving version. His find guaranteed that this intertitle was in the release version, and now the LC can finish restoration on an important Biograph." http://pickfordfilmlegacy.tripod.com/libraryofcongresspd.htm


Mary Pickford defending her lover from attacking Union soldiers (h/t PFL page)

Reviews from MPWorld Oct-Dec 1912 of above three films!
A Motion Picture Story Magazine 1912 serialization follows:


BRUTALITY: At Wedding Released December 2, 1912. This Griffith film exists in the L of C as a few disparate parts. NOT a lot of images online! I found one in an e-book online from UC.  Cinecola notes from Matt M's filmpedia:

Directed by - D.W. Griffith   Written by - D.W. Griffith
Starring - Walter Miller, Mae Marsh, Joseph Graybill

     "GRIFFITH turns his attention to domestic violence in his 1912 short BRUTALITY. Here, he tells the story of a newlywed couple. The wife, played by an excellent MAE MARSH, fails to notice the alarm bells pointing to her beloved's anger and violent outbursts, and once locked in marriage, she becomes the victim to this abuse.
     The performances in BRUTALITY are excellent. WALTER MILLER is always a powerful presence, and his versatility is clearly shown as he plays the double role ala Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in the form of loving husband disturbed by remorseless and incontrollable violent fits. 
In the end, however, GRIFFITH fits one of his driving inspirations and elements - the power of the arts - into his film's ending as the man experiences an awakening during a theatre show. 
     While one can absolutely admire MILLER's responses to the actions on stage as they happen, the ending is far too quick, too sudden and because of the lengthy build up to the portrayal of the titular brutality, it doesn't seem to give a satisfactory resolve."

Oliver Twist scene found in Brutality (http://publishing.cdlib.org/ucpressebooks/view?docId=ft5t1nb3jp;brand=ucpress)
Gish, Brutality


THE NEW YORK HAT: Preacher Bolton This is a well-known Griffith film, in which Griffith unleashed to excellent use several techniques for the camera. I'd just watch it and marvel :) Briefly, Mary Pickford plays a young girl whose mother dies and leaves a note for LB's preacher saying she has left money for him to buy her daughter the little things young ladies want, like ribbons or hats, at the preacher's discretion. You can imagine how it goes from there. In the early 1950s, when LB wrote his bio, this film was being shown at the Museum of Modern Art and remains a classic.


 Click here to watch The New York Hat
Mary Pickford and Lionel Barrymore, The New York Hat
MY HERO: Secondary Role. Released December 12, 1912, directed by DW Griffith. Unknown if it exists. Shot in Fort Lee, NJ, this western short starred HB Walthall as "Indian Charlie", as well as Dorothy Gish, Robert Harron, and basically all the Griffith players at the time: Christy Cabanne, Kate Bruce, LB, Harry Carey, John T. Dillon, Alfred Paget, Charles Mailes... you get the idea. Here's a synopsis from Moving Picture World: Stern parents have ever been relentless obstacles in love's young dream, but it is perhaps quite doubtful if ever love could equal the accentuated bliss and anguish of these two. She refused to eat for her hero and for her he bore the marks of battle, an eye made black by a cruel parent's fist. Tired of such an unsympathetic world, they sought the wilderness, where, had it not been for Indian Charlie, these two "babes in the wood" would have ended their dream in a manner quite too disagreeable to think of. 

I have found in The Motion Picture Story Magazine a long "novelization" of it, in which it's possible Mr. B appears int he final image as an old man. Feast your peepers on this over the top hamminess!







I believe LB is the old man here!



 THE BURGLAR'S DILEMMA: The Householder (LB wrote this film as well)
Released December 16,1012. This interesting, somewhat surreal Griffith film has a fantastic cast and some interesting character names:
In short, Walthall's weakling is at odds with his happy-go-lucky, successful, much more confident brother, LB's "Householder". Strange drama ensues on the Householder's birthday, Gishes appear, and LB spends much of the film, well, not doing much! Bobby Harron is very good as the burglar, and all ends well. It's available online, and it's very much worth a look!


LB and HB Walthall at the beginning (screengrabs from film)
Gishes! They wish LB's character happy birthday while HBW mopes
LB demonstrating his height/size advantage over brother (HBW)
HBW pushes LB down...uh oh...
Shenanigans ensue--SPOILER! Bobby Harron as the burglar in a dilemma--HBW claims BH caused drama
But... things are not what they seem!

A CRY FOR HELP: The bum/ tramp.** Released December 23, 1912. The Gish sisters, Harry Carey, Bobby Harron, and Walter Miller also appear. There does not seem to be much on this film, though there is a fragmentary copy at MoMA, apparently. "Knocked down by an automobile, the intoxicated tramp is taken to the doctor's house, received and treated to a square meal. The husband of a patient has just died, calls on the doctor, intending to kill him. The grief-crazed man is foiled several times by the return of the tramp, whom the maid at last pushes out of the house. She hears the doctor struggling with his assailant and faints. The tramp hears the doctor's cry for help and enters by a rear window, despite the objections of a policeman, in time to save his benefactor." (Moving Picture World synopsis)

MoMA has this as a record: 4041 A Cry for Help. 23 Dec 1912. TMHN. 1p.  However, at least one writer claims to have seen a "fragmented copy" [Acting, Springer and Levinson, excerpt on Google books (Rutgers UP, 2015)]. I cannot find a clip or picture yet of this film! Yet...

**note-- several motion picture mags of the time have LB as the DOCTOR, not the tramp: "Lionel Barrymore was the physician in A Cry for Help. [Motion Picture Story Feb-July 1913]" Walter C Miller is identified as the doctor in MPW of 1913 (multiple times!)
Thanks Media History Digital Library!

MPWorld Oct-Dec 1912 review
MPWorld review Jan 1913, page 51
MPWorld confirmation of LB as the tramp, Jan-Mar 1913, page 258

THE GOD WITHIN: The Woman of the Camp's Lover Released Dec 26, 1912, with HB Walthall, Blanche Sweet (as the Woman of the Camp), LB, Claire Mc Dowell. The review below does not really help to determine what the film is about! I believ here, LB would have been "The Other Man", as he often was this year when he and HB Walthall appeared in a film together.The film is extant (I'm not sure where yet) and is the last film of Lionel Barrymore's very busy 1912.

MPWorld review, Dec 1912, p 1224
A second review in January 1913 mentions the film's apparent effect on the audience:
Pictures from Thinking in Pictures by Jesionowski (google books grabs)


I also found a very interesting excerpt from Wojcik's Movie Acting, the Film Reader (she covers a lot of Biograph and mentions LB and Mary Pickford a great deal):
Movie Acting, the Film Reader, Pamela Wojcik, p 63 (google books grab)

And that concludes the 1911-1912 films of Lionel Barrymore!




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