|True Heart Susie (1919) starred Lillian Gish - apparently "plain" as well as unnamed.|
As early as 1919 it was not uncommon to find his profile prominently featured on slides promoting his films [also see D.W. Griffith Meets the Mystery Woman, Sept. 16, 2010].
Of course major directors were often featured prominently in the advertising materials for their films, but generally their stature was signified exclusively by the size and grandeur of the typeface devoted to their name.
For an example of such typographical bombast, one need look no further than Cecil B. DeMille who's name dwarfed even the title as well as that of any actor or contributing artist.
|Cecil B. DeMille's name dwarfs all others on slide for The Ten Commandments (1923)|
In many cases marketing departments apparently believed that Griffith's noble Roman profile would be more attractive to prospective audiences than the fair likenesses Lillian Gish, Mae Marsh, or any other star under his direction.
Perhaps even Griffith himself insisted on being pictured. Having started his career as a stage actor, and as one who appeared in numerous early films before moving behind the camera, it's not unreasonable to assume that Griffith at least encouraged the incorporation of his image in promotional materials.
|Lillian Gish braves the icy river in Way Down East (1920) but Griffith dominates the image.|
Charlie Chaplin and Erich von Stroheim are both prominent in this regard, with Chaplin clearly leading supreme.
|Chaplin directed and starred in The Pilgrim (1923)|
|Erich von Stroheim in Fugitive Road (1934)|
Stroheim, on the other hand, can be found in promotional materials from his years as a combined actor/director as well as in productions in he worked exclusively as a performer. In all cases such as these, Chaplin and Stroheim consistently appear on the slides in costumer, make-up, and character for their acting role, not as an advertisement for their directorial role. Promotional departments knew quite well that people went to the cinema to see Chaplin on the screen - not to admire directorial acumen.
|Drums of Love (1928)|