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.

Classical Hollywood cinema

Golden Age of HollywoodGolden AgeHollywood's Golden Age
Charlie Chaplin. Maurice Chevalier. Montgomery Clift. Lee J. Cobb. Charles Coburn. Lew Cody. Ronald Colman. Hans Conried. Elisha Cook Jr. Gary Cooper. Joseph Cotten. Broderick Crawford. Donald Crisp. Hume Cronyn. Bing Crosby. Tony Curtis. James Dean. John Derek. Brandon deWilde. Richard Dix. Brian Donlevy. Kirk Douglas. Melvyn Douglas. Jimmy Durante. Dan Duryea. Douglas Fairbanks Sr. Douglas Fairbanks Jr. José Ferrer. Mel Ferrer. Stepin Fetchit. Errol Flynn. Henry Fonda. Glenn Ford. Stan Freberg. Paul Frees. Clark Gable. John Garfield. John Gilbert. Farley Granger. Stewart Granger. Cary Grant. Sydney Greenstreet. Edmund Gwenn. Alan Hale Sr. Rex Harrison. Sessue Hayakawa. Sterling Hayden.

Richard Schickel

Schickel, RichardSchikel, RichardRichard Schikel
His Picture In The Papers: A Speculation on Celebrity in America Based on the Life of Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. (1974). Harold Lloyd: The Shape of Laughter (1974). The World of Tennis (1975). Douglas Fairbanks: The First Celebrity (1976). Another I, Another You: A Novel (1978). Singled Out: A civilized guide to sex and sensibility for the suddenly single man—or woman (1981). Cary Grant: A Celebration (1983). D.W. Griffith: An American Life (1984); British Film Institute Book Prize, 1985. Intimate Strangers: The Culture of Celebrity (1985) (aka Common Fame: The Culture of Celebrity); revised 2000. Lena by Lena Horne and Richard Schickel. James Cagney: A Celebration (1986).

United Artists

UAUnited Artists ReleasingUnited Artists Corporation
Founded in 1919 by D. W. Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, and Douglas Fairbanks, the studio was premised on allowing actors to control their own interests, rather than being dependent upon commercial studios. UA was repeatedly bought, sold, and restructured over the ensuing century. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer acquired the studio in 1981 for a reported $350 million ($ billion today). On September 22, 2014, MGM acquired a controlling interest in Mark Burnett and Roma Downey's entertainment companies One Three Media and Lightworkers Media, then merged them to revive United Artists' TV production unit as United Artists Media Group (UAMG).

Mary Pickford

Mary Mary Pickford FoundationMary Pickford Award
With a career spanning 50 years, she was a co-founder of both the Pickford–Fairbanks Studio (along with Douglas Fairbanks) and, later, the United Artists film studio (with Fairbanks, Charlie Chaplin and D. W. Griffith), and one of the original 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences who present the yearly "Oscar" award ceremony. Pickford was known in her prime as "America's Sweetheart" and the "girl with the curls". She was one of the Canadian pioneers in early Hollywood and a significant figure in the development of film acting.

Thomas H. Ince

Thomas InceIncevilleThomas Harper Ince
They attracted directors and stars of the day, including Pickford, Lillian Gish, Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, and Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. They also produced some of the most enduring films of the silent era, including the Keystone Kops comedy franchise. Originally a distributor of films produced by NYMP, the Reliance Motion Picture Corp., Majestic Motion Picture Co., and The Keystone Film Co., by November 1916 the company's distribution was handled by Triangle Distributing Corporation. Though Ince had many credits as a director at Triangle, he only supervised the production of most pictures, working primarily as executive producer.

Photoplay Productions

Broken Blossoms (1919) directed by D. W. Griffith starring Lillian Gish and Richard Barthelmess. Intolerance (1916) directed by D. W. Griffith starring Lillian Gish, Robert Harron and Constance Talmadge. The Adventures of Dollie (1908) directed by D. W. Griffith starring Lillian and Dorothy Gish. The Immigrant (1917) directed by Charles Chaplin. One Week (1920) starring Buster Keaton. Get Out and Get Under (1920) directed by Hal Roach with Harold Lloyd. Giving Them Fits (1915) directed by Hal Roach with Harold Lloyd. Sword Points (1928) directed by Mark Sandrich starring Lupino Lane. IMDB. Photoplay Productions – Facebook Page. Photoplay Productions – Website.

List of silent films released on 8 mm or Super 8 mm film

The Birth of a Nation starring Lillian Gish. The Black Pirate starring Douglas Fairbanks. The Hunchback of Notre Dame starring Lon Chaney. The Mark of Zorro starring Douglas Fairbanks. The Gold Rush starring Charlie Chaplin. The Phantom of the Opera starring Lon Chaney. Thundering Hoofs directed by Fred Thomson. Tillie's Punctured Romance starring Charlie Chaplin. Tol'able David starring Richard Barthelmess. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea starring Matt Moore. Way Down East starring Lillian Gish. Way Out West starring Laurel and Hardy. Zapruder Film directed by Abraham Zapruder.

Intolerance (film)

IntoleranceIntolerance: Love's Struggle Through the AgesIntolerance: Love's Struggle Throughout the Ages
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.

Sound film

In 1921, the Photokinema sound-on-disc system developed by Orlando Kellum was employed to add synchronized sound sequences to D. W. Griffith's failed silent film Dream Street. A love song, performed by star Ralph Graves, was recorded, as was a sequence of live vocal effects. Apparently, dialogue scenes were also recorded, but the results were unsatisfactory and the film was never publicly screened incorporating them. On May 1, 1921, Dream Street was re-released, with love song added, at New York City's Town Hall theater, qualifying it—however haphazardly—as the first feature-length film with a live-recorded vocal sequence. There would be no others for more than six years.

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.

The Biograph Girl

Lillian is cast in Birth of a Nation, while Mary decides to leave Griffith in order to work for Adolph Zukor at a substantially higher salary. Eventually she finds herself forced to suppress her growing sophistication in order to maintain the image of innocence her fans have embraced. Shocked by the negative public and industry reaction to Birth of a Nation, Griffith vows to make an epic film advocating peace and tolerance. Intolerance proves to be an artistic success but a commercial flop. Griffith's financial woes threaten to end his career until Mary joins him, Charles Chaplin, and Douglas Fairbanks to form United Artists.

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. 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. Walsh served as an officer in the United States Army during World War I.

National Film Registry

United States National Film RegistryList of films preserved in the United States National Film RegistryLibrary of Congress National Film Registry
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. This table is through the 2018 induction list (727 films total). For purposes of this list, multi-year serials are counted only once (as they are in the Registry) by year of completion.

Gloria Swanson

Crown Theatre with Gloria SwansonGloriaGloria Le Bailly de La Falaise
On March 29, 1928, at the bungalow of Mary Pickford at United Artists, Swanson, Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, Charles Chaplin, Norma Talmadge, John Barrymore, Dolores del Río and D. W. Griffith met to speak on the radio show, The Dodge Brothers Hour, to prove they could meet the challenge of talking movies. To try to recover from the Queen Kelly fiasco, Swanson jumped into making talkies, including The Trespasser (1929), What a Widow! (1930), Indiscreet (1931), Perfect Understanding (1933), and Music in the Air (1934). The Trespasser tells the story of a "kept woman" who maintains a lavish lifestyle. The film stars Swanson, Robert Ames, Purnell Pratt, Henry B. Walthall, and Wally Albright.

Dolores del Río

Dolores del RioDelores del RioDel Rio
On 29 March, at Mary Pickford's bungalow, United Artists brought together Pickford, del Río, Douglas Fairbanks, Charles Chaplin, Norma Talmadge, Gloria Swanson, John Barrymore, and D. W. Griffith to speak on the radio show The Dodge Brothers Hour to prove they could meet the challenge of talking movies. Del Río surprised the audience by singing "Ramona" proving to be an actress with skills for sound cinema. Although her career blossomed, her personal life was turbulent. Her marriage to Jaime Martínez ended in 1928. The differences between the couple emerged after settling in Hollywood.

Buster Keaton

KeatonBuster Keaton ProductionsEleanor Keaton
Keaton and Arbuckle became close friends, and Keaton was one of few people, along with Charlie Chaplin, to defend Arbuckle's character during accusations that he was responsible for the death of actress Virginia Rappe. (Arbuckle was eventually acquitted, with an apology from the jury for the ordeal he had undergone.) In 1920, The Saphead was released, in which Keaton had his first starring role in a full-length feature. It was based on a successful play, The New Henrietta, which had already been filmed once, under the title The Lamb, with Douglas Fairbanks playing the lead.

Lost film

lostsurviveslost films
Occasional exceptions exist; almost all of the films made by Charlie Chaplin during his entire career have survived, as well as extensive amounts of unused footage dating back to 1916. The exceptions are A Woman of the Sea (which he destroyed himself as a tax writeoff) and one of his early Keystone films, Her Friend the Bandit (see Unknown Chaplin). The filmography of D. W. Griffith is nearly complete, as many of his early Biograph films were deposited by the company in paper print form at the Library of Congress.

The Mark of Zorro (1920 film)

The Mark of Zorro19201920 film version
The Mark of Zorro is a 1920 silent adventure romance film starring Douglas Fairbanks and Noah Beery Sr.. This genre-defining swashbuckler adventure was the first movie version of The Mark of Zorro. Based on the 1919 story The Curse of Capistrano by Johnston McCulley, which introduced the masked hero, Zorro, the screenplay was adapted by Fairbanks (as "Elton Thomas") and Eugene Miller. The film was produced by Fairbanks for his own production company, Douglas Fairbanks Pictures Corporation, and was the first film released through United Artists, the company formed by Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, Charlie Chaplin, and D. W. Griffith.

John Emerson (filmmaker)

John EmersonClifton Paden
John Emerson (born Clifton Paden; May 29, 1874 – March 7, 1956) was an American stage actor, playwright, producer, and director of silent films (many featuring Douglas Fairbanks). Emerson was married to Anita Loos from June 15, 1919 until his death, and prior to that the couple had worked together as a writing team for motion pictures. They would continue to be credited jointly, even as Loos pursued independent projects. Born and educated in Ohio, Emerson's earliest documented acting credits date from 1904, however like D. W. Griffith he probably played in regional stock companies before then.

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).


Technicolor Corporationthree-strip TechnicolorTechnicolour
Douglas Fairbanks' The Black Pirate (1926) was the third all-color Process 2 feature. Although successful commercially, Process 2 was plagued with technical problems. Because the images on the two sides of the print were not in the same plane, both could not be perfectly in focus at the same time. The significance of this depended on the depth of focus of the projection optics. Much more serious was a problem with cupping.


motion picturemoviefilms
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.

Eugene Pallette

Eugene Palette
Pallette began his silent film career as an extra and stunt man in 1910 or 1911. His first credited appearance was in the one-reel short western/drama The Fugitive (1913) which was directed by Wallace Reid for Flying "A" Studios at Santa Barbara. The up-and-coming actor was also splitting an apartment with actor Wallace Reid. Quickly advancing to featured status, Pallette was cast in many westerns. He worked with D. W. Griffith on such films as The Birth of a Nation (1915), where he played two parts, one in blackface, and Intolerance (1916). He also played a Chinese role in Tod Browning's The Highbinders.

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 1924 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.