Dorothy Gish in the British Silent Film Nell Gwyn (1926)

Dorothy Gish was the star of Herbert Wilcox’s magnificent British silent film Nell Gwyn (1926) wearing incredible costumes designed by Doris Zinkeisen.

After filming Decameron Nights (1924) at UFA, Herbert Wilcox  left Graham-Wilcox Productions and formed Herbert Wilcox Productions. His first production was The Only Way (1925), adapted from the stage show based on A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. Distribution by the British arm of First National Pictures with a cash guarantee of £12,500, it initiated their British programme with a commitment to encouraging British production.

Wilcox was thinking of the next project and saw a theatre bill headlining Dolly Elsworthy, whom he had seen performing at the Camberwell Palace doing her famous ‘Orange Girl’ sketch. This gave him the idea to film Nell Gwyn but he needed a bright and vivacious actress to play the lead. He decided this should be the American star Dorothy Gish. A cable was sent and, since her career was in a bit of lull, she immediately accepted the offer, receiving a salary of £1,000 per week. Secure with the distribution deal from First National, Wilcox booked the Islington studio, forcing Michael Balcon and Graham Cutts to find another studio to film The Sea Urchin.

Dorothy Gish in the British Silent Film Nell Gwyn (1926) filmed at the Islington Studio, London (outfit designed by Doris Zinkiesen)

Dorothy Gish in the British Silent Film Nell Gwyn (1926) filmed at the Islington Studio, London (outfit designed by Doris Zinkiesen)


London’s Hollywood: The Gainsborough Studio in the Silent Years 

Published 15th July 2014

A detailed look at the British Silent Film industry with this first ever evaluation of the history, output and achievement of the most iconic film studio in England during the silent era. 

Available in the following formats:

Hardback, £27, ISBN 9781909230132
Paperback, £14.99, 
ISBN 9781909230101
From Amazon.co.uk
From Amazon.com
From The Book Depository (hardback)
From The Book Depository (paperback)

Amazon Kindle ebook, £8.99, 

ISBN 9781909230125
Apple ebook, £8.99, 
ISBN 9781909230118
(Through Apple / iTunes – search for title on iTunes bookstore)

 

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