NEW YORK — Lillian Gish proved once again to be a symbol of the long-gone silent film era as she appeared Thursday night at Radio City Music Hall to launch a four-day festival of four recently restored silents.
Gish, wearing a flowing lavender-hued floor-length dress and wrapped in a billowing stole, was given a tumultuous, standing ovation by an audience that nearly filled the 6,000-seat Music Hall as she walked on stage to introduce "The Wind." The 1928 Victor Seastrom film was the actress' last silent and one of the last of the silent era.
Preceding the actress' appearance was a 12-minute 1912 melodrama, "An Unseen Enemy," the first of several D. W. Griffith silents in which Lillian Gish and her late sister, Dorothy Gish, appeared together.
"For me and my sister Dorothy, I say thank you," said Gish, a frail yet flamboyant figure on the great Music Hall stage. (Her age has been variously reported between 86 and 93.) "I didn't see the film, I don't know what it was, but I hope you enjoyed it . . . and now you are going to see 'The Wind,' which I think is good, and I hope you enjoy that too."