Tuesday, March 31, 2009

lillian Hall-Davis: UK Silent Screen Muse

When most people are asked to bring up 10's & 20's silent screen actresses, names such as Brooks, Pickford and Gish are the first names that come to mind. Because of the thousands of films made during the silent era, it is easy to forget the not as famous actors because of lack of film availability, interest and knowledge.

Lillian Hall-Davis is one such actress. I had the pleasure to be introduced to her work through two Alfred Hitchcock British International Picture films The Ring (1927) and The Farmers Wife (1928). Something about Lillian's presence in both films that make two rather standard 20's films into something enjoyable. Like Setsuka Hara in The Idiot and No Regrets for Our Youth, lillian's very being and presence in The Ring and The Farmer's Wife speaks more volumes than any screenwriter could write into a script and elevates both films to another level.

There is something very real about how she connects and projects to the viewer. Lillian's beauty is honest and was not lost behind lighting and costumes, a Alfred Hitchcock trademark even in 1920's.

Born London , England in 1898 Lillian first film was in 1917 in a feature called La P'tite du Sixieme and her last role 1931's Many Waters. Two years later on October 25th 1933 at the age of 35, Lillian killed herself.

I rarely collect actors filmography but I would like to see more of Lillian's films, as I have a feeling I'm going to find some forgotten gems of this great actress. I hope in time we can hold her name and films in higher esteem to even the most casual film fan.

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