True Heart Susie (June 1, 1919)

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Lillian Gish as True Heart Susie
 

Released on June 1, 1919: A plain country girl helps her school sweetheart get a college education and a career, but he falls for a sexy painted and powdered girl instead of his true heart childhood sweetheart.

Produced by D.W. Griffith

Directed by D.W. Griffith

The Actors: Lillian Gish (True Heart Susie), Robert Harron (William Roberts), Wilbur Higby (William's Father), Loyola O'Connor (Susie's aunt), George Fawcett (the stranger), Clarine Seymour (Bettina Hopkins), Kate Bruce (Bettina's Aunt), Carol Dempster (Bettina's friend), Raymond Cannon (Sporty Malone), Louise Emmons (church goer)

 

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Paint, Powder, Tight Skirts and Silk Stockings

Lillian Gish was born to a long line of Dunkard ministers in 1893. Dunkards were German folk who settled mostly in Pennsylvania with the Amish and Mennonite and who believed in baptism by dunking in water three times instead of a sprinkle of water on the forehead as the Catholic Church was accustomed to do. In 1912 Lillian's father was dead, and with her mother and sister Dorothy moved to New York City looking for a better life. Lillian became fast friends with neighbor Gladys Smith, who was acting in this new thing called motion pictures under the stage name of Mary Pickford. Mary Pickford introduced Lillian to director and producer D.W. Griffith and when he hired her she lied about her age and told him that she was 16 instead of her true age of 19, knowing already that young is more attractive than old. Girls must be taught that in school or something . . . or maybe we guys are just terribly transparent. In any case, Lillian Gish went on to be known as the First Lady of the Silent Screen and later The First Lady of American Cinema. When talkies came along she went on to appear in movies, then television and stage performances, starring in her final motion picture at the age of 93 in the 1987 movie "The Whales of August" with Bette Davis and Vincent Price. A year later she made her final screen appearance in a short role the 1988 movie 'Showboat' with a few lines near the end of the movie, and her last on screen words were, 'Good Night'.

Do Men Look for the True Heart in women, or are they caught by the net of paint, powder, and suggestive clothes? Not all at once, now . . . think about it for a minute . . . Okay, I guess it wasn't a really fair question to ask even a hundred years ago. Anyway, Lillian Gish is True Heart Susie, the plain and simple small town girl who falls in love with her school friend William, who is also a small town boy, but handsome enough to attract the attention of every girl that sees him. The familiar part of the story, repeated often in life and cinema, is that True Heart Susie sacrifices to make sure that William gets a college education so that they will have a good life together when they marry . . . But William, after becoming a famous author, falls for the good-time girl with painted face and seductive ways, remaining friends with Susie but nothing more. Alas, after getting married to the sexy girl William discovers what some men today also discover . . . once the sexy gorgeous girl has her man she turns into a nagging, cheating hussy who still wants to party with the fast crowd instead of settling down to a peaceful marriage. And good hearted Susie is still in the shadows of William's life even as his marriage falls apart at the seams. Will William discover how deceitful his wife is? Will his hussy wife get caught when she cheats on William? Will Susie stand by and try to protect his marriage or will she throw the hussy wife under the bus? Will William and Susie ever have a life together or will they both end their days wondering what might have been? Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter on it and enjoy the show.

Clarine Seymour at the ice cream social
Clarine Seymour at the ice cream social
Clarine Seymour meets Robert Harron
Clarine Seymour meets Robert Harron
Clarine Seymour says good-night to Robert Harron
Clarine Seymour says good-night to Robert Harron
Clarine Seymour woos Robert Harron
Clarine Seymour woos Robert Harron
George Fawcett meets Robert Harron
George Fawcett meets Robert Harron
George Fawcett
George Fawcett
Kate Bruce, Clarine Seymour and Robert Harron
Kate Bruce, Clarine Seymour and Robert Harron
Lillian Gish and Robert Herron in spelling class
Lillian Gish and Robert Herron in spelling class
Lillian Gish watches Clarine Seymour sleep
Lillian Gish watches Clarine Seymour sleep
Lillian Gish writes in her diary
Lillian Gish writes in her diary
Loyola O'Connor, Lillian Gish and Robert Harron
Loyola O'Connor, Lillian Gish and Robert Harron
Loyola O'Connor
Loyola O'Connor
Raymond Cannon and Clarine Seymour
Raymond Cannon and Clarine Seymour
Robert Harron and Carol Dempster
Robert Harron and Carol Dempster
Robert Harron and Lillian Gish in the ice cream parlor
Robert Harron and Lillian Gish in the ice cream parlor
Robert Harron and Lillian Gish
Robert Harron and Lillian Gish
Robert Harron marries Clarine Seymour
Robert Harron marries Clarine Seymour
Robert Harron
Robert Harron