Corinne Griffith — As She Is (1928) 🇺🇸

Corinne Griffith — As She Is (1928) |

February 28, 2024

Corinne Griffith is one of the highest-salaried and most popular stars. She has made only two good pictures during her entire career, Island Wives for Vitagraph, and Classified for First National.

by Margaret Reid

She is unique — the only star whose popularity has survived a succession of poor pictures. She says people go to see her films, because they are sorry for her. They are used to reading “Corinne Griffith’s talents are wasted in another mediocre production.” She won her public on sympathy, she says, and if she started making good pictures they would probably stop coming. She is humorous about it, because she allows nothing to bother her. But at the same time, she would like to do a few intelligent films. And a costume picture or two.

Beginning at Vitagraph some years ago, she was the lowest-paid star on the lot, with Alice Joyce, Harry Morey, Edith Storey, et al. Building up a large following in the first few pictures, she. rapidly became one of the company’s best drawing-cards.

In those days, she and Alice Joyce were sisters in suffering, because of a blond star whose director was more influential than theirs, and who had discovered that a great many lights thrown up from the floor would considerably reduce the contours of his star’s rather plump face. Consequently, Corinne and Alice ran daily danger of screening like mulattoes, practically all the lights in the studio being on the blond lady’s set.

Corinne, at this time, was studying dancing under Theodore Kosloff, so Vitagraph decided she must have an appropriate vehicle. The Broadway Bubble, the story of a chorus girl, was chosen, Corinne being principally responsible for the selection. When it turned out to be a success, the company began to give her a little more authority in production decisions. She became interested in this, instead of concentrating, as heretofore, on her clothes. She chose and insisted upon doing Island Wives. It was her first good picture.

Vitagraph began to sink into a morass of misfortune and mismanagement. They sent Miss Griffith to California, ostensibly to finish her contract. She obtained a release almost immediately afterward.

Hollywood was agog about her arrival. One of the most publicized stars, the colony had been reading about her for years, but not one of her pictures had been shown in Los Angeles. The femmes of the colony were curious, the hommes eager. They first saw her at the Cocoanut Grove. She drifted in, quite unconscious that she was making an entrance, heavenly beautiful in a pale-yellow frock that breathed “New York” on overdressed Hollywood. She was quiet and reserved, while for local ladies it was a vivacious season. She was conservative, where ostentation was expected. She was gorgeous, but not gaudy. She was a knock-out.

Having little more than half a dozen friends in town, and not being interested in fraternal souls who wanted to entertain her simply because she was Corinne Griffith, she spent most of her time driving about the city and suburbs. On one of her rambles, the chauffeur returned through Beverly Hills, then just in the birth of its glory. Casually, Corinne noticed the number of pretentious homes under construction, together with the fact that there were no shops of any sort. Reasoning that there would have to be shops to supply community demands, she sought out a real-estate agent. Within a few days she had bought a lot on the one street set aside for business. On it she erected a four-story building — the Griffith Building, the first in the town.

This was the beginning of her financial enterprises. She is a shrewd business woman, particularly in real estate. This, added to her motion-picture earnings, has made her wealthy Her money has never gone toward undue display, but she lives beautifully.

Innate good taste is perhaps her salient characteristic. She has the instincts and delicacy of the thoroughbred in all things. Her home reflects this — reflects her.

She lives at present in a charming, mellow house of English architecture, in Beverly Hills. Its interior is a delight to the eye and a rest to the body. Neither the “artyness” of the interior decorator, nor the home-talent result of too much “woman’s touch,” is apparent. Its furnishings are the perfection of comfort and grace, Corinne having supervised and planned every last cushion and umbrella closet herself.

Outside, the gardens are triumphant, even for California. At first, the gardeners had begun the planting. Corinne hovered, fascinated, over them until, able to stand it no longer, she dismissed them all and did the planting and nurturing herself.

The place, as a field of endeavor, is closed to her now. Becoming restless, she sold it to Mrs. Thomas Ince and is deep in plans for an Italian villa on a neighboring hill.

She is absurdly competent, for the lady of languor she appears. When she was getting” $150 a week at Vitagraph, it was common supposition that she was receiving at least three times that sum. Her beautiful apartment, her exquisite clothes — people pointed out in illustration. As a matter of fact, she was saving half of each week’s salary.

As a little girl — shortly after her father died, leaving the family suddenly poor — she found herself with no frocks for parties. Her mother, a gentle, helpless person of the old Southern regime, was nonplused. Realizing that the only source for pretty frocks was herself, Corinne bought patterns and taught herself to sew. It has continued to stand her in good stead.

She adores clothes. Frankly, and with no apology. She is one of the half dozen or so really smartly dressed actresses in Hollywood. She seldom shops in the West, going to New York before commencing each picture. Systematically planning her entire wardrobe for the production on the train, she has it executed by the best modistes. One for evening-gowns, another for suits, and so on.

Her screen wardrobe, with few exceptions, is a total loss after the picture is done. Realizing that her camera clothes must have certain dramatic accentuations, she concedes to that. But never wears them outside the studio. Her own preference is for very plain things of smart line and fabric.

She wears few jewels. Those she has are conservative and exceptionally good.

She surrounds herself with the best of everything. Her knowledge of shops and their quality is uncanny. Whatever you want. Corinne knows just the place to go to get it in the finest grade.

Only in dogs are her tastes plebeian. She loves any sort of clog, secretly preferring those of uncertain parentage. She has more than half a dozen of them, most of which have been sent her by people who want’ them nursed through illnesses. She has very good luck with dogs, having a sound understanding of their ailments. She takes in any and every forlorn canine, looks after it and then cannot bear to give it up. When she comes home from the studio, the ménage lines up in front of her, wriggling and yelping with delight. They have the freedom of the house and Corinne cannot move a step without the piebald procession following at her heels. Her one good dog is a Dobermann-Pinscher. But it is a homely little wire-haired terrier, who is not quite all wire hair, that rides to the studio with her every day and sits on the set belligerently guarding her chair.

A gala day for her is that on which the servants are all out. and she has the house to herself. On one of these days, attired in a gingham apron, she was in the kitchen fixing lunch for the laundress. Tradespeople came to the back door, conversing amiably with this cute housemaid, none of them realizing she was mistress of the house. One delivery boy even timidly suggested a date to go to the movies. He was downcast when Corinne confided that she was married.

Her lazy beauty, her drawling voice, her unruffled manner are often mistaken for helplessness. Producers and directors who conclude thus, come out of an encounter sadder and wiser men. She is strong-willed to the point of stubbornness. Convinced that she is right on an issue, nothing in the wide world can budge her. She never becomes vehement, but in her lazy, careless way insists on her opinion until frenzied officials give up in sheer exhaustion.

Having no more than three or four intimates, she is nevertheless of a friendly nature. Whoever she happens to be working with, or whatever group she happens to be among, are her friends. Always reserved, she is never exclusive.

She is married to Walter Morosco, son of the theatrical producer. They continue to be in love, despite murmurs from the mourners’ bench, because Corinne’s reticence is mistaken for concealment. She and her husband are wonderful playmates. Corinne has never before really known how to play, but with Walter Morosco she is a gay, carefree child.

No one has ever seen Corinne Griffith disturbed, or even ruffled. No one has ever heard her make a general statement. She can talk at length in her soft, humorous drawl, and five minutes later you realize she hasn’t revealed a thing of herself. She never speaks unkindly of any one. Her religion is a serene and sincere faith in the power of good and the charity of tolerance. She is always faintly amused at everything, in particular herself. She does nice, thoughtful things for people, often going to a great deal of trouble. But is careless of their thanks, turning them aside with some languid witticism. And, as you already know, she is swell looking.

Corinne Griffith — As She Is (1928) |

Corinne Griffith is the only star who has survived poor pictures

Corinne Griffith — As She Is (1928) |

Corinne Griffith — As She Is (1928) |

In the careful analysis of Corinne Griffith’s character opposite, many little-known facts are brought out, including her lack of illusions regarding her pictures, which she says people go to see out of pity rather than admiration for her.

Photo by: Melbourne Spurr (18881964)

Collection: Picture Play Magazine, May 1928