Kevin Brownlow referred to "The Wind" as "Victor
Lillian Gish . . .
"Working on 'The Wind' was one of my worst experiences
in film making. Sand was blown at me by eight airplane propellers
and sulphur pots were also used to give the effect of a sandstorm.
I was burned and in danger of having my eyes put out. My hair
was burned by the hot sun and nearly ruined by the sulphur smoke
"When we saw 'The Wind' on the screen, all of us, including
Irving Thalberg, thought it was the best film we had ever done.
But the months went by, and it was not released. I heard rumors
that it was being recut. I was called back to the studio, and
Irving explained that eight of the largest exhibitors in the country
had seen it and insisted on a change in the ending. Instead of
the heroine's disappearance in the storm, she and the hero were
to be reconciled in a happy ending.
"The heart went out of all of us, but we did what they
wanted." (The Movies, Mr. Griffith and Me by Lillian
Gish with Ann Pinchot, Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1969)
William K. Everson . . .
"Gish, Hanson and Seastrom were reunited by MGM for 'The
Wind,' a strange amalgamation of themes and elements from 'Greed,'
'White Gold' and traditional westerns. A bizarre, shapeless affair,
devoid of any real sense of period (even Lillian Gish's costuming
seems to exist in a vacuum), it was a monumental example of talent
triumphing over scenario. . . The plot, though based on a 1925
story, seemed too old-fashioned and erratic to be taken seriously
. . . The atmospheric photography (John Arnold), Seastrom's beautifully
underplayed direction (the killing scene was a brilliant essay
in suggestion, the whole act of the body falling to the floor
being conveyed by a shot of a dust-laden plate jarring and resettling),
and the superb control exercised by Lillian Gish over potentially
flamboyant theatrics, all represented the silk purse of silent
screen art at its peak, despite the sow's ear on which it was
squandered." (American Silent Film by William K. Everson,
Oxford University Press, 1978)
Jerry Vermilye . . .
"Of her two 1928 movies, 'The Enemy' is among the lost
curiosities of the period, while 'The Wind' is an acknowledged
classic. Upon release, however, the latter's stark realism and
almost unrelieved gloom proved depressing, despite MGM's insistence
on a happy ending. Harrison's Reports' hard to please critic called
it 'gruesome' and 'irritating to the nerves.' And, admittedly,
the naturalistic handling of its prolonged desert wind-and-sand
storm continue to have a marked effect on the film's audiences."
(The Films of the Twenties by Jerry Vermilye, Citadel Press,
review . . .
"It is a study of psychological reaction to atmospheric
environment, and as such employs cinematic effects in mire abundance
than is to be found in the usual photodrama. Its attempt is to
be more mature than the average picture, to dwell on mood of scene
and state of mind as essentials in plot and to envisage both as
forces in the secret springs of action of human beings. . .
"The film shows one bad tendency of our directors and
scenarists, its atmospheric chord is twanged too often. In the
present case in their anxiety to make the wind felt and heard.
. ., they have blown the bellows and shoveled the sand over-long
and with too much energy." (National Board of Review Magazine,
Joe Franklin . . .
"Miss Gish's best MGM films, 'La Boheme,' 'The Scarlet
Letter,' and 'The Wind,' presented her with strikingly mature
roles, in contrast to the innocent and girlish roles which had
fallen to her under Griffith." (Classics of the Silent
Screen by Joe Franklin, Citadel Press, 1959)
Neil Sinyard . . .
"Seastrom built the tale into a study of frail feminity
and turbulent nature, in which a desert storm comes to suggest
overwhelming passions that might bury the characters. Not since
'Broken Blossom' had Lillian Gish such an opportunity to exhibit
the extreme emotional range of her acting." (Silent Movies
by Neil Sinyard, Brompton Books Corp., 1990)
David Robinson . . .
"(Seastrom) was able to work again with Gish on 'The
Wind,' a film unjustly neglected, and Seastrom's American masterpiece.
The theme was extraordinary; the destruction of a sensitive young
girl brought about by alien circumstances. . . Magnificently photographed
by John Arnold, the film captures the atmosphere of the prairie
- the dust, the wind, the bright, threatening skies. Seastrom's
use of visual imagery in 'The Wind' to illuminate the psychology
of his characters has never been adequately studied." (Hollywood
in the Twenties by David Robinson, Tantivy Press, 1968)
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