Remodeling Her Husband

Remodeling Her Husband is a 1920 American silent comedy film that marked the only time Lillian Gish directed a film.

Remodeling Her Husband
Directed byLillian Gish
Written byLillian Gish (story and scenario, as Dorothy Elizabeth Carter)
Dorothy Parker (intertitles)
StarringDorothy Gish
James Rennie
CinematographyGeorge W. Hill
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • June 13, 1920 (1920-06-13)
Running time
5 reels (4,844 feet)
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)
Budget$50,000 [1]
Box officeover $460,000 [1]

D. W. Griffith is stated in some sources as co-director or perhaps had limited input as the production was filmed at his Mamaroneck, New York production facilities. Lillian Gish wrote the story and scenario incognito as Dorothy Elizabeth Carter with Algonquin Round Table writer Dorothy Parker supplying the intertitles. Thus the movie was nearly an all-woman produced movie with the exception of the cameraman.

The film, currently classified as lost, stars Lillian's sister Dorothy Gish and Dorothy's husband at the time James Rennie.[2] George W. Hill, who is the cinematographer, later directed classic films at MGM like Tell It to the Marines (1926) and The Big House (1930).


As described in film publications,[3][4] Janie (Gish) gets married with the goal of reforming her husband Jack (Rennie), but he still has the eyes for other women. He promises to reform, but says he is ashamed because she lacks the style of a flapper. All goes well until he meets a pretty woman with a heavy suitcase. He helps her into a taxi cab and takes her home. Janie sees him as she rides by on a bus. That affair gets him into wrong, but he manages to square it with his wife. Then a good looking manicure girl comes into his life, and again Jack falls. Once again Janie is on the job at the psychological moment. This time she leaves him in haste and goes home to her mother. Janie tries to forget Jack by taking a job in her father's office. Jack, who loves her sincerely, is filled with remorse and despair. He calls upon her to beg her forgiveness and, since she still loves him, she yields. But when he attempts to lay down the law to her, she presses a button on her desk and he finds himself being escorted from the office. He threatens suicide, and this is too much for Janie. She comes back to him and they live together happily.


  • Dorothy Gish as Janie Wakefield
  • James Rennie as Jack Valentine
  • Marie Burke as Mrs. Wakefield
  • Downing Clarke as Mr. Wakefied
  • Frank Kingdon as Mr. Valentine
  • Leslie Marsh as Flower Girl
  • Mildred Marsh as Bridesmaid
  • Barden Daube as Flirting Woman


Variety published the following review of the film on December 31, 1919:

This feature will be liked by film fans but not particularly because of the story or the picturization of it, but through the exquisite comedy Dorothy Gish offers.
The picture seems to be a real Gish family affair, with Dorothy starring and Lillian directing. Much is made of the latter in a title leader, which sets forth that this day is one where woman is asserting herself in all the arts, and therefore it is time she undertook the direction of pictures.
But Lillian does not qualify as a particularly strong directress in this production. The story may have had something to do with that. It is not a world beater but with the action that Dorothy supplies it gets by with laughs.
James Rennie, who plays opposite the star, is the only member of the supporting cast who seems to have more than a ‘bit’ to do. The others while acceptable fail to show often enough to get a line on them. It is a picture that is Dorothy Gish, hook, line and sinker, and it would sink if it weren’t for her.[5]

Preservation status

Remodeling Her Husband is now considered to be a lost film.[6][2][7]

See also


  1. FOSTER, AUDREY FOSTER (1995). Women Film Directors: An International Bio-critical Dictionary. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. see page 143. ISBN 0313289727. Retrieved March 6, 2015.
  2. The American Film Institute Catalog Feature Films: 1911-1920 by The American Film Institute (1988)
  3. "Remodeling Her Husband: Moth-Eaten Story Lifted by Dorothy Gish's Inimitable Humor". Motion Picture News. New York City: Motion Picture News, Inc. 21 (26): 5011. June 19, 1920. Retrieved 2014-06-25.
  4. "Reviews: Remodeling Her Husband". Exhibitors Herald. New York City: Exhibitors Herald Company. 10 (26): 86. June 26, 1920.
  5. "Review: Remodeling Her Husband". Variety. December 31, 1919.
  6. Progressive Silent Film List: Remodelling Her Husband at
  7. Remodeling Her Husband at; Lost Films Wanted(Wayback Machine)..Retrieved July 21, 2018
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