Ms Dorothy Gibson

S

Stefan Christiansson

Guest
Howcome Ms. Gibson never made any more movies after "Saved from the Titanic"?
She had started her acting career only the year before. Was her career ruined after making this movie so soon after the disaster or did she have another reason for leaving the filming industry?
 
May 12, 2005
3,109
1
108
Stefan,

Phil Gowan is an expert on Dorothy Gibson's life and will likely know best as to why she left the movie business. My own research indicates she was not a terrifically ambitious gal career-wise, but did have hopes of marrying well. As you know, in 1912 she was seeing Jules Brulatour, a important New York film distributor and later Hollywood big-wig, and was obviously crazy over him or she wouldn't have been so patient for him to divorce his wife and marry her. I think that marriage was her REAL ambition. Her career as a model and movie actress were only incidental. That's my opinion.

I think Phil might agree. I know he says she insisted on being addressed as Dorothy Brulatour, even well after Jules had divorced her to marry another starlet, Hope Hampton.

As to her career being ruined after "Saved from the Titanic," not at all. Quite the reverse. The movie was a huge success - at least by standards then. In fact had Dorothy not opted to segue into the realm of well-kept mistress, she might have gone on to bigger screen roles. At any rate, she retired of her own volition.

Since none of her pictures have survived (so far as is known), it's impossible to tell if she was - or could have developed into - a gifted actress. Her reviews indicate she was more than adequate and the few stills that remain of her vehicles reveal a mobile face and expressive poses. But that's about all we have to go on insofar as judging Dorothy as an actress.

Randy
 
Mar 15, 2001
710
0
146
You know, the one thing I always think about is her movie "Saved From The Titanic'. Its hard to believe that no copy exists. I wonder how widely the movie was distributed across the USA? Also, what did the theatres do with movies after they were shown?
 

Alan Hustak

Member
Jul 25, 2007
48
0
76
Two questions: One, was she the Gibson girl? And two, does anyone know exactly when and where she was when she had the accident with Brulatour's car which, as I understand it, ended the romance.
 
May 12, 2005
3,109
1
108
Darren,

Only a very small percentage of films pre-1930 have been preserved. There are many (and, I might add, far more important) films made in those early years which have not survived. The most glaring example of loss is the case of the work of silent screen idol Theda Bara (the original screen "vamp") who made some fifty films during the years of her greatest popularity (1915-19). Of these pictures, only four have survived. Apart from her first hit "A Fool There Was" (1915), in which the line "Kiss me my fool" became legendary, none of her major movies survive. Among the casualties was her most famous film, "Cleopatra" (1917), by all accounts an enormous-scale production and a smash at the box-office. It is considered one of silent film's greatest losses.

As to how widely "Saved from the Titanic" was distributed, I would think very. I believe the reviews intimate this fairly well. It was also released to much success in the UK though it went through a title change during its run there which was long.

Your last question is easy. Theatres in silent days stored films after their initial runs and with the exception of some that went into re-release, most remained in vaults where they literally disintegrated as the years passed. Some were destroyed in studio fires. That apparently is how "Saved From the Titanic" was lost. There was a fire at the Eclair Studios in 1914 and all their negatives and prints were destroyed.

Randy
 
May 12, 2005
3,109
1
108
She was not the "Gibson Girl." The prototype of the Gibson Girl was Charles Dana Gibson's wife, Irene, one of the beautiful Langhorne Sisters. (The other sister Nancy went on to fame as Lady Astor, first woman member of Parliament.) Dorothy was no relation to Gibson the illustrator. She was a "Harrison Fisher Girl," apparently one of that illustrator's favorites.
 

Kris Muhvic

Member
Sep 26, 2008
295
0
46
Ugh! The terrible demise of early films: a sore point with me, but I won't go there.
sad.gif


Funny; Randy stated Miss Gibson was known as a "Harrison Fisher Girl", when I recall Mary Pickford was known as a "Biogragh Girl". Much to her disliking...being recognised on streetcars to and from work (this is early in her film career: 1909/10)- made her ask D.W. Griffith for more money, because of the added humiliation of being "noticed" (how different today!).

I state this little example because in the early days of film, from my understanding, being in one was more of a renegade endeavor; as opposed to stage work, which was considered more legitimate. Actors were not named, as in credits, for their work in films. Indeed, many would act in these "flickers" simply for extra money in the theater off-season; being anonymous was an asset! I mentioned Pickford- she herself felt doing films was beneath her; being a "Belasko actress", she did this only to appease her Mother's wishes...to suppliment the family's income. Which later, she significantly did!

I think maybe Dorothy Gibson not taking her film career seriously was a result of that not many believed it was a viable, or respectable, manner in which a young lady should make a living.

Plus, no matter the pay, actors and actresses (in the new-comer capacity) were expected to provide their own costumes back then! Miss D. probably hated that part!

Oh- just some thoughts.
Kris
 

Dave Gittins

Member
Apr 11, 2001
4,889
148
193
Not all old films that are lost were destroyed accidentally. When I was but a little lad, I went to a demonstration of firefighting by the local fire brigade. For one exercise, they piled up a large quantity of nitrate film and set fire to it. It was a great way to show off the efficiency of their fire extinguishers, but who knows what was burnt?
 
May 8, 2001
1,359
1
166
I had wondered if the development of "Talkies" in 1928 (?) may have had anything to do with some of these actresses going onto new fields, but it appears that Dorothy was already out of the picture industry by this point.
Colleen
 

Inger Sheil

Member
Dec 3, 2000
5,337
30
198
Has the latest ADB arrived over the pond yet? It has Phil G and Brian Meister's The Saga of the Gibson Women. Excellent stuff! It certainly lives up to the material that has been hinted at by the authors on ET in the past...you just couldn't invent a story with these sort of twists. Great photos too. It's always good to see an article with so much 'meat' to it.

There's also an excellent piece this month by Phil G in the White Star Journal - America's Ismay's

Colleen, I saw your name crop up in this issue!
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,581
371
283
Easley South Carolina
Hell, the mailman is being outrun by the snails. Dead ones! I just hope some of the books I ordered recently get to me befor the year 2100 rolls around. At least I'll be in a position to appriciate them!
 

Inger Sheil

Member
Dec 3, 2000
5,337
30
198
Will keep specific observations on the article to myself, then, until the rest of the world has a chance to read it. It's a cracking good story, though - worthy of movie script treatment itself ;) The Titanic is just once incident in a colourful, if not always endearing, life.
 
May 8, 2001
1,359
1
166
Me mentioned in there too? THAT IS IT!!!! NOT going to be a pretty sight if my husband gets the call for a wild eyed woman chasing after the postal driver, hollering "ADB!ADB!ADB!"
wink.gif

Thanks for the warning Inger!
 
May 8, 2001
1,359
1
166
Hey wait a minute! Since this is a subject opened about Dorothy Gibson.... If there is a reference that the similarities in looks between us are uncanny, I am going to be mad!
smile.gif
 

Inger Sheil

Member
Dec 3, 2000
5,337
30
198
Lol! Don't worry, Colleen - you haven't been co-opted in the Gibson clan inadvertantly (although there's quite a lovely photo (albeit somewhat soft-focus) of Dorothy in the 1920s).

You show up in a piece titled 'Holiday and other Sightings', about the Titanic related items at Big Bear Lake. I only mentioned in this thread because I noticed your post above.
 

Phillip Gowan

Member
Apr 10, 2001
1,128
1
166
Inger,
Thanks for the plugs on the article. The Gibson women are really a case study in, er, something. Just finding out what finally became of Pauline took years of searching and led places I never dreamed it would lead. I know Randy Bigham got his ADB yesterday so some have begun to arrive on this side of the pond-however mine hasn't come yet. The photo you mentioned of Dorothy is quite a good one-haven't seen the quality in the ADB yet--but I have that one framed and on my "Titanic Wall" at home.

Again, thanks for the kind words and am glad you enjoyed the article.

Phil
 
May 12, 2005
3,109
1
108
I did get my copy of ADB and am thrilled to finally see the Gibson saga in print. It's hugely fascinating reading of course but, as I've teased Phil, I suspect he's still holding back some fine tidbits on this odd pair! He has yet to confirm or deny which, I'm hoping, means I'm right!

The ADB was especially interesting this issue. I'm touched by the photo of Sid Sedunary in Halifax standing beside the grave of his father, lost on Titanic.

Craig Stringer's piece on the Dyer Edwardes was wonderful. I must be very stupid - I had no idea the Countess of Rothes' parents had crossed the Channel on Titanic with their daughter!

George Behe's tribute to the late Winnifred Van Tongerloo was extremely moving.

And dear Inger is too modest not to mention her own very engrossing story on that sun-God of a Titanic officer, James Moody.

All in all, an exceptional edition. Thank you BTS!

Randy