Lillian Gish

Her film acting career spanned 75 years, from 1912, in silent film shorts, to 1987. Gish was called the First Lady of American Cinema, and is credited with pioneering fundamental film performing techniques. Gish was a prominent film star from 1912 into the 1920s, particularly associated with the films of director D. W. Griffith, including her leading role in the highest-grossing film of the silent era, Griffith's seminal The Birth of a Nation (1915). At the dawn of the sound era, she returned to the stage and appeared in film infrequently, including well-known roles in the controversial western Duel in the Sun (1946) and the offbeat thriller The Night of the Hunter (1955).

Roadshow theatrical release

roadshowroad showroadshow release
The Birth of a Nation (1915). Intolerance (1916). The Covered Wagon (1923). The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923). The Ten Commandments (1923). Ben-Hur (1925). The Big Parade (1925). Wings (1927), the first Best Picture Academy Award winner. The Jazz Singer (1927), the first feature length part-talkie. Chicago (1927) (the silent film based on the play that inspired the Kander and Ebb Broadway musical and Oscar-winning film). Show Boat (1929) (a part-talkie based not on the 1927 stage musical but on Edna Ferber's original novel from which the musical was adapted). The Desert Song (1929). Rio Rita (also 1929). Hell's Angels (1930), (Howard Hughes. The Sign of the Cross (1932).

Classical Hollywood cinema

Golden AgeGolden Age of HollywoodHollywood's Golden Age
Charlie Chaplin. Maurice Chevalier. Montgomery Clift. Lee J. Cobb. Lew Cody. Ronald Colman. Gary Cooper. Joseph Cotten. Broderick Crawford. Hume Cronyn. Bing Crosby. Tony Curtis. James Dean. Richard Dix. Kirk Douglas. Melvyn Douglas. Jimmy Durante. Dan Duryea. Douglas Fairbanks Sr. Douglas Fairbanks Jr. José Ferrer. Errol Flynn. Henry Fonda. Glenn Ford. Clark Gable. John Garfield. John Gilbert. Farley Granger. Stewart Granger. Cary Grant. Sydney Greenstreet. Edmund Gwenn. Alan Hale, Sr. Rex Harrison. Sessue Hayakawa. Gabby Hayes. Paul Henreid. Charlton Heston. William Holden. Bob Hope. Edward Everett Horton. Leslie Howard. Rock Hudson. John Huston. Boris Karloff. Danny Kaye. Buster Keaton.

Ku Klux Klan

In 1915 the film The Birth of a Nation was released, mythologizing and glorifying the first Klan and its endeavors. The second Ku Klux Klan was founded in 1915 by William Joseph Simmons at Stone Mountain, near Atlanta, with fifteen "charter members". Its growth was based on a new anti-immigrant, Anti-Catholic, Prohibitionist and anti-Semitic agenda, which reflected contemporary social tensions, particularly recent immigration. The new organization and chapters adopted regalia featured in The Birth of a Nation; membership was kept secret by wearing masks in public. Director D. W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation glorified the original Klan.

Kevin Brownlow

Brownlow, Kevin
The San Francisco Silent Film Festival presented the complete 2000 restoration of the film, with Davis conducting his score, at the Paramount Theatre Oakland in March 2012. Brownlow also began a collaboration with David Gill with whom he produced several documentaries on the silent era. The first was Hollywood (1980), a 13-part history of the silent era in Hollywood, produced by Thames Television. This was followed by Unknown Chaplin (1983) (Charlie Chaplin), Buster Keaton: A Hard Act to Follow (1987) (Buster Keaton), Harold Lloyd: The Third Genius (1989) (Harold Lloyd) and Cinema Europe: the Other Hollywood (1995), among others.

Raoul Walsh

In 1914 he became an assistant to D.W. Griffith and made his first full-length feature film, The Life of General Villa, shot on location in Mexico with Pancho Villa playing the lead and with actual ongoing battles filmed in progress as well as recreations (events dramatized in the 2003 film And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself, with Kyle Chandler playing Walsh). Walsh played John Wilkes Booth in Griffith's epic The Birth of a Nation (1915) and also served as an assistant director. This was followed by the critically acclaimed Regeneration in 1915, possibly the earliest feature gangster film, shot on location in Manhattan's Bowery district.

Intolerance (film)

IntoleranceIntolerance: Love's Struggle Through the AgesIntolerance'' (film)
Intolerance is a 1916 epic silent film directed by D. W. Griffith. Subtitles include Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages and A Sun-Play of the Ages. Regarded as one of the great masterpieces of the silent era (though it received mixed reviews at the time ), the three-and-a-half-hour epic intercuts four parallel storylines, each separated by several centuries: (1) a contemporary melodrama of crime and redemption, (2) a Judean story: Christ's mission and death, (3) a French story: the events surrounding the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre of 1572, and (4) a Babylonian story: the fall of the Babylonian Empire to Persia in 539 BC.

History of film

film historianfilm historyhistory of cinema
The biggest success of these years was David Wark Griffith's The Birth of a Nation (1915). Griffith followed this up with the even bigger Intolerance (1916), but, due to the high quality of film produced in the US, the market for their films was high. In France, film production shut down due to the general military mobilization of the country at the start of the war. Although film production began again in 1915, it was on a reduced scale, and the biggest companies gradually retired from production. Italian film production held up better, although so called "diva films", starring anguished female leads were a commercial failure.

Broken Blossoms

film by the same name
Unlike Griffith's more extravagant earlier works like The Birth of a Nation or Intolerance, Broken Blossoms is a small-scale film that uses controlled studio environments to create a more intimate effect. Griffith was known for his willingness to collaborate with his actors and on many occasions join them in research outings. The visual style of Broken Blossoms emphasises the seedy Limehouse streets with their dark shadows, drug addicts and drunkards, contrasting them with the beauty of Cheng and Lucy's innocent attachment as expressed by Cheng's decorative apartment. Conversely, the Burrows' bare cell reeks of oppression and hostility.

Orphans of the Storm

Orphans of the Storm is a 1921 silent drama film by D. W. Griffith set in late-18th-century France, before and during the French Revolution. The last Griffith film to feature both Lillian and Dorothy Gish, it was a surprising commercial failure, after box-office hits such as The Birth of a Nation, Intolerance, and Broken Blossoms. Like his earlier films, Griffith used historical events to comment on contemporary events, in this case the French Revolution to warn about the rise of Bolshevism. The film is about class conflict and a plea for inter-class understanding and against destructive hatred.

Nickelodeon (film)

NickelodeonNickelodeon'' (film)Nickleodeon
While initially believing movies are just a brief flickering kind of entertainment, Leo is profoundly affected by the 1915 world premiere of D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation, which transforms the motion picture industry. The film started as a script by W.D. Richter called Stardust Memories which was purchased by Irwin Winkler. Winkler took the project to David Begelman at Columbia, who pursued Bogdanovich as director. Winkler later stated: He made David come to his office and wait until the receptionist said, 'Mr. Bogdanovich will see you now.' As soon as we came inside, we were very haughtily told that he thought the script was a piece of [garbage].

List of highest-grossing films

theatrical rentalshighest-grossing filmhighest-grossing film of all time
During the silent era, films with war themes were popular with audiences, with The Birth of a Nation (American Civil War), The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, The Big Parade and Wings (all World War I) becoming the most successful films in their respective years of release, with the trend coming to an end with All Quiet on the Western Front in 1930. With the advent of sound in 1927, the musical—the genre best placed to showcase the new technology—took over as the most popular type of film with audiences, with 1928 and 1929 both being topped by musical films.

National Film Registry

United States National Film RegistryList of films preserved in the United States National Film Registryculturally significant
The Registry contains newsreels, silent films, student films, experimental films, short films, music videos, films out of copyright protection or in the public domain, film serials, home movies, documentaries, animation and independent films. As of the 2018 listing, there are 750 films in the Registry. Currently, the earliest listed film is Newark Athlete (1891), and the most recent is Brokeback Mountain (2005). Counting the 11 multi-year serials in the NFR once each (as the NFR does) by year of completion, the year with the most films selected is 1939, with 19 films from that year chosen. The time between a film's debut and its selection varies greatly.

Joseph Carl Breil

BreilBreil, Joseph
He later composed and arranged scores for several other early motion pictures, including such epics as D. W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation (1915) and Intolerance (1916), as well as scoring the preview version of The Phantom of the Opera (1925), a score that is now lost. His love theme for "Birth of a Nation", titled "The Perfect Song", was published by Chappell & Co. in an arrangement for voice and keyboard. It was later used as the theme for the radio show "Amos and Andy". Joseph was the first of four children born to Joseph and Margaret Breil of Pittsburgh. (Joseph Sr., a lawyer, was an immigrant from Prussia and his wife was born in Pennsylvania.)

Frank E. Woods

Frank Woods
Woods (1860 – May 1, 1939) was an American screenwriter of the silent era. He wrote for 90 films between 1908 and 1925, and first became a writer with the Biograph Company. Woods was also a pioneering film reviewer. As a writer, his contributions to film criticism are discussed in the documentary, For the Love of Movies: The Story of American Film Criticism. He was also known for his screenplay collaborations with D. W. Griffith, including the co-scripting of The Birth of a Nation. He is interred in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, CA. Woods was one of the 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Chalk Marks (1924). Richard the Lion-Hearted (1923).

Miriam Cooper

Miriam Cooper (November 7, 1891 – April 12, 1976) was a silent film actress who is best known for her work in early film including The Birth of a Nation and Intolerance for D. W. Griffith and The Honor System and Evangeline for her husband Raoul Walsh. She retired from acting in 1923 but was rediscovered by the film community in the 1960s, and toured colleges lecturing about silent films. Miriam Cooper was born to Julian Cooper and Margaret Stewart in Baltimore, Maryland on November 7, 1891. Her mother was from a devout Catholic family with a long history in Baltimore. Her paternal grandfather had helped discover Navassa Island and made his wealth from selling guano.

Robert Harron

Bobby HarronRobert "Bobby" Harron
Robert Emmett "Bobby" Harron (April 12, 1893 – September 5, 1920) was an American motion picture actor of the early silent film era. Although he acted in over 200 films, he is known for his roles in the D.W. Griffith directed films The Birth of a Nation (1915) and Intolerance (1916). Harron was the older brother of film actors John Harron and Mary Harron. Born in New York City, Harron was second oldest child of nine siblings in a poor, working-class Irish Catholic family. Harron's younger siblings John (nicknamed "Johnnie"), Mary and Charles also became actors while one of his younger sisters, Tessie, was an extra in silent films. Charles was killed in a car accident in December 1915.

Ralph Lewis (actor)

Ralph Lewis Ralph LewisRalph Lewis
Ralph Percy Lewis (October 8, 1872 – December 4, 1937) was an American actor of the silent film era. Born in 1872 in Englewood, Illinois, Lewis appeared in 160 films between 1912 and 1938. The character actor remains perhaps best-remembered for his role as abolitionist U.S. Representative Austin Stoneman in D. W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation (1915). Lewis also starred in one of the early Hollywood sound shorts, Gaunt, in 1931. He was married to actress Vera Lewis. He died in Los Angeles, California after being hit by a limousine driven by a chauffeur working for Jack L. Warner. The Great Leap: Until Death Do Us Part (1914). Home, Sweet Home (1914).

Walter Long (actor)

Walter Long
He appeared in many D. W. Griffith films, notably The Birth of a Nation (1915), where he appeared as Gus, an African American, in blackface make-up, and Intolerance (1916). Long also supported Rudolph Valentino in the films The Sheik, Moran of the Lady Letty, and Blood and Sand. He later appeared as a comic villain in four Laurel and Hardy films during the early 1930s. In 1908, Long married Luray Roble, a stenographer from Wisconsin who later became an actress at Triangle/Fine Arts. They had a son named John. She died in 1918 at age 28, due to the Spanish influenza epidemic. Long never remarried.

Josephine Crowell

Josephine Boneparte Crowell (January 11, 1859 – July 27, 1932) was a Nova Scotian film actress of the silent film era. She appeared in 94 films between 1912 and 1929. Crowell was born in Nova Scotia, British North America and began her film acting career in the 1912 film The School Teacher and the Waif. By 1919 she had appeared in 50 films, many of which were film shorts. Her most notable film appearance during that period was in the early film classic The Birth of a Nation, starring Lillian Gish and directed by D. W. Griffith. In 1920 she appeared with Gladys Brockwell in Flames of the Flesh, which was followed by another six film appearances that year.

Donald Crisp

It was during this time he met and befriended film director D.W. Griffith. When Griffith ventured west, to seek his fortune in Hollywood in 1912, Crisp accompanied him. From 1908 to 1930, Crisp, in addition to directing dozens of films, also appeared in nearly 100 silent films, though many in bit or small parts. One notable exception was his casting by Griffith as General Ulysses S. Grant in Griffith's landmark film The Birth of a Nation in 1915. Another was his role in Griffith's 1919 film Broken Blossoms as "Battling Burrows", the brutal and abusive father of the film's heroine, Lucy Burrows (played by Lillian Gish; the actress was only 11 years his junior).


motion picturemoviecinema
The rise of European cinema was interrupted by the outbreak of World War I, while the film industry in the United States flourished with the rise of Hollywood, typified most prominently by the innovative work of D. W. Griffith in The Birth of a Nation (1915) and Intolerance (1916). However, in the 1920s, European filmmakers such as Sergei Eisenstein, F. W. Murnau and Fritz Lang, in many ways inspired by the meteoric wartime progress of film through Griffith, along with the contributions of Charles Chaplin, Buster Keaton and others, quickly caught up with American film-making and continued to further advance the medium.

Monte Blue

He played football and worked as a fireman, railroad worker, coal miner, cowpuncher, ranch hand, circus rider, lumberjack, and day laborer at the studios of D. W. Griffith. Blue had no theatrical experience when he came to the screen. His first movie was The Birth of a Nation (1915), in which he was a stuntman and an extra. Next, he played another small part in Intolerance (1916). He also was a stuntman or stand-in for Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree during the making of Macbeth (1916). Gradually moving to supporting roles for both D. W. Griffith and Cecil B. DeMille, Blue earned his breakthrough role as Danton in Orphans of the Storm, starring sisters Lillian and Dorothy Gish.