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Wednesday, August 10, 2022
Featuring live musical accompaniment by Donald Sosin.
La Bohème, a tragedy adapted from the same 19th-century source that inspired Puccini’s opera, begins on the first of the month. Rent is due, and the creative types of Paris’s Latin Quarter are frantically pawning their piccolos and scribbling sellable stories in an effort to spare themselves eviction. It’s here that the struggling playwright Rodolphe (John Gilbert, who had just starred in The Big Parade) falls for the impoverished seamstress Mimi, played by Lillian Gish. Though not as well-remembered as some of her other performances, Gish’s singular screen presence in La Bohème is felt throughout. As elsewhere, she gives herself fully to the role, and even visited tubercular patients in the hospital in preparation for her character’s own demise. “The movies,” Vidor declared, “have never known a more dedicated artist than Lillian Gish.” Print courtesy of the UCLA Film & Television Archive.