Lillian Gish and Ralph Forbes in The Enemy

German postcard. Ross Verlag, No. 3533/1. Lillian Gish and Ralph Forbes in the American silent film The Enemy (Fred Niblo, MGM 1927).


The plot takes place in Austria during the First World War. Carl Behrend (Ralph Forbes) and Pauli Arndt (Lillian Gish) have just married. he is the son of a businessman (George Fawcett) , she the daughter of a professor (Frank Currier). When the First World War breaks out, Carl is drafted and called to the front. he has to endure major suffering. Life is hard for those left behind too. Pauli is starving and despairs, even more so when her father is revoked for his pacifist opinions. She becomes a prostitute and loses her baby…


American actress Lillian Gish (1893-1993) was ‘The First Lady of the Silent Screen’. During the 1910s, she was one of director D.W. Griffith’s greatest stars. She appeared in features such as The Birth of a Nation (1915), Broken Blossoms (1919), and Orphans of the Storm (1921). After 13 years with Griffith, she moved to MGM where her first picture was La bohème (1926). In the 1940s she again appeared in a handful of films and received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her role as Laura Belle McCanles in Duel in the Sun (1946). Her last film was The Whales of August (1987) in which she shared the lead with Bette Davis.

Handsome English actor Ralph Forbes (1904 – 1951) started his film career in the British cinema before he became a Hollywood star of the 1920’s and 1930’s. Later he turned into a noted Broadway actor.