Well folks, I’m up to my third review for November’s installment of Random Movies Month” to be showcased on Monty and Desiree’s website. Today I thought I would feature another great Lillian Gish silent “The Wind”. A perennial silent classic that doesn’t get paid much attention these days.
Lillian Gish fights the wind, ghost horses and chooses between two men in this indelible masterpiece directed by Victor Seastrom. Letty Mason ( Lillian Gish ) an innocent and credulous young girl who has resided in Virginia all her life travels to the western prairies to live with her cousin Beverly at their isolated ranch in Sweet Water. During her journey by train she meets Wirt Roddy, a fellow passenger who works in the cattle buying industry. Wirt warns Letty about the towns excessive winds and tells her that the wind usually drives women crazy. On her arrival in Sweet Water, Letty discovers just how deleterious the winds really are, but she also learns that the wind is not her only problem. Soon she detects how uncongenial the atmosphere is. While her cousin Beverly and his three children are affable, Beverly’s wife Cora is hostile towards her, and even from the start stares at her with an inimical gaze. Cora believes that Letty has come to steal her husband away from her so she demands that Letty leaves her house. However Letty has received two marriage proposals while in town. With no money to defend for herself she now is forced to accept one of the marriage proposals that she has attained.
“The Wind” was made just when the coming of sound was starting to take Hollywood by storm, but even though this was filmed at the end of the silent era, the movie still garnered positive accolades, and was a success upon it’s release. Lillian Gish with her porcelain doll like features and eyes full of expression shines in her rich portrayal of Letty, delivering a commendable performance once again. This is another movie that proves that Lillian Gish was the finest actress from the silent era.
Quotes from film:
Letty: “Lige, I’ve killed Wirt Roddy.”
Lige: “There’s nothin out there, nothin but sand.”
Lige: “Winds mighty odd. If you kill a man in justice, it allers covers him up.”
During filming, high temperatures made life miserable for both cast and crew. The intense heat caused the film stock to warp, and it had to be packed in ice to remain intact. Lillian Gish claimed that she touched an outside door handle, and was so severely burned that a small part of her palm’s flesh was scalded off.
The wind in the film was created by the propellers of eight aircraft stationed on location in the Mojave Desert.
The airplane propellers blowing hot air, sand and smoke were so dangerous that crew members were forced to wear long-sleeved clothing, eye goggles, bandannas around their necks and greasepaint on their faces whenever the machines were being run.
Lillian Gish: Born Lillian Diana Gish on October 14th, 1893 in Springfield, Ohio. Died: February 27th, 1993 in New York. Aged 99.
Lars Hanson: Born Lars Mauritz Hanson on July 26th, 1886 in Göteborg, Sweden. Died: April 8th, 1965 in Stockholm, Sweden.