During the height of silent film as a medium, Biograph was America's most prominent film studio and one of the most respected and influential studios worldwide, only rivaled by Germany's UFA, Sweden's Svensk Filmindustri and France's Pathé. The company was home to pioneering director D. W. Griffith and such actors as Mary Pickford, Lillian Gish and Lionel Barrymore. An unrelated company, with the same name, was incorporated in California in 1991. As of 2012 its operations were suspended. The company was started by William Kennedy Dickson, an inventor at Thomas Edison's laboratory who helped pioneer the technology of capturing moving images on film.
BiographAmerican Mutoscope and Biograph CompanyAmerican Mutoscope Company
America1924America'' (1924 film)
America, also called Love and Sacrifice, is a 1924 silent historical war romance film. It describes the heroic story of the events during the American Revolutionary War, in which filmmaker D. W. Griffith created a film adaptation of Robert W. Chambers’ novel The Reckoning. The plot mainly centers itself on the battles of the New York State, with romance spliced into the individual movie scenes. The story shifts between the British in Northern New York, and the colonial patriots in Massachusetts and Virginia. Much later in the film in New York, a little remembered sub-plot takes place.
Dream StreetDream Street'' (film)
Dream Street is a 1921 American silent romantic drama film directed by D. W. Griffith, and starring Carol Dempster, Charles Emmett Mack, and Ralph Graves in a story about a love triangle set in London, and based on two short stories by Thomas Burke, "Gina of Chinatown" and "Song of the Lamp". The cast also features Tyrone Power, Sr. The film, released by United Artists, was poorly received in its day and critics still consider it one of Griffith's worst films.
D. W. Griffith filmography. Lillian Gish filmography. Blanche Sweet filmography. Lionel Barrymore filmography.
Isn't Life Wonderful?
Isn't Life Wonderful (1924) is a silent film directed by D. W. Griffith for his company D. W. Griffith Productions, and distributed by United Artists. It was based on the novel by Geoffrey Moss and it went under the alternative title Dawn. A family from Poland has been left homeless in the wake of World War I. They move to Germany and struggle to survive the conditions there, during the Great Inflation. Inga (Carol Dempster) is a Polish war orphan who has only accumulated a small amount of money from the rubble and hopes to marry Paul (Neil Hamilton). Weakened by poison gas, Paul begins to invest in Inga's future and he serves as their symbol of optimism.
One Exciting Night is a 1922 American Gothic silent Mystery film directed by D. W. Griffith. The plot revolves around a series of murders on a wealthy estate and the attempts of the cast to uncover the murderer's identity. The success of both the Mary Roberts Rinehart and Avery Hopwood play The Bat (1920), as well as the 1922 stage play The Cat and the Canary, led Griffith to write and produce his own variation on the theme, which in turn led to the production of similar "murder mystery/old dark house" films such as The Ghost Breaker (1922), previously filmed by C. B.
San Francisco1936Blackie Norton
Famous silent film directors D. W. Griffith and Erich von Stroheim worked on the film without credit. Griffith directed some of the mob scenes while von Stroheim contributed to the screenplay. The film opens with two men in boxing gloves and trunks sparring vigorously. One knocks the other squarely down, concluding their session. Changing out of their exercise gear, the latter dons a natty suit, the former a priest's collar. The first man is "Blackie" Norton (Clark Gable), a saloonkeeper and gambler. He owns the Paradise Club on Pacific Street in the notorious Barbary Coast. The other is Blackie's childhood friend, Father Tim Mullen (Spencer Tracy), a Roman Catholic priest.
The Leopard's Spots: A Romance of the White Man's BurdenThe Leopard's Spots: A Romance of the White Man's Burden – 1865–1900
The novel served as one of the sources for D. W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation. The title refers to a passage from the Biblical Book of Jeremiah 13:23 "Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil" (KJV). The title conveyed the idea that as leopards could not change their spots, people of African origin could not change what Dixon, as a racist and white supremacist, viewed as inherently negative character traits. Charles Gaston – A man who dreams of making it to the Governor's Mansion Sallie Worth – A daughter of the old-fashioned South Gen. Daniel Worth – Sallie Worth's father Mrs.
KeystoneKeystone Film CompanyKeystone Pictures Studio
Charlie Chaplin got his start at Keystone when Sennett hired him fresh from his vaudeville career to make silent films. Charlie Chaplin at Keystone Studios is a 1993 compilation of some of the most notable films Chaplin made at Keystone, documenting his transition from vaudeville player to true comic film actor to director. In 1915, Keystone Studios became an autonomous production unit of the Triangle Film Corporation with D. W. Griffith and Thomas Ince. In 1917, Sennett gave up the Keystone trademark and organized his own company.
The Birth of a Race is a 1918 American silent drama film directed by John W. Noble. It was made as a response to the 1915 film The Birth of a Nation, and was meant to discredit the negative stereotypes perpetuated by the film. Initially, it was intended to be a short answer film that could be appended to The Birth of a Nation in 1915 but a combination of weak financial backing and growing ambitions delayed its completion for more than two years. When finally released in December, 1918, following the end of World War I, The Birth of a Race was a two-hour feature length film, portraying the achievements of black people through history.
piedpie fightpie in the face
It was first seen in film in the 1909 Essanay Studios silent film Mr. Flip starring Ben Turpin. In the story, Turpin has a pie pushed into his face for taking liberties with a woman. Beginning in 1913 with That Ragtime Band and A Noise from the Deep, filmmaker Mack Sennett became known for using one or two thrown pies in many of his comedy shorts. Sennett had a personal rule about who received the pies: "A mother never gets hit with a custard pie ... Mothers-in-law, yes. But mothers? Never." At least a half dozen films have been made incorporating extended pie-throwing battles. The first was Charlie Chaplin's Behind the Screen released in 1916.
Micheaux Film and Book CompanyMicheaux Film Corp.Oscar Michaux
Micheaux's second silent film was Within Our Gates, produced in 1920. Although sometimes considered his response to the film Birth of a Nation, Micheaux said that he created it independently as a response to the widespread social instability following World War I. Within Our Gates revolved around the main character, Sylvia Landry, a mixed-race school teacher. In a flashback, Sylvia is shown growing up as the adopted daughter of a sharecropper. When her father confronts their white landlord over money, a fight ensues. The landlord is shot by another white man, but Sylvia's adoptive father is accused and lynched with her adoptive mother.
William J. SimmonsWilliam Simmons
The imagery of the burning cross, which had not been used by the original Klan, had been introduced by Griffith in The Birth of a Nation. The film, in turn, had derived the image from the works of Thomas Dixon, Jr., upon which the film was based. He had been inspired by the historical practices of Scottish clans, who had burned crosses as a method of signaling from one hilltop to the next. The image also occurs in Lady of the Lake, a long poem by Walter Scott. The signature white robes of this new Klan also likely come from "The Birth of a Nation."
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.
Harry CareyHarry Carey, Sr.Harry Carey Sr.
Walthall introduced him to director D.W. Griffith, with whom Carey would make many films. Carey's Broadway credits include But Not Goodbye, Ah, Wilderness, and Heavenly Express. Carey first appeared in a film in 1908. He was contracted to make four films—not only acting but also doing his own stunt work. He is best remembered as one of the first stars of the Western film genre. In 1909, Carey began working for the Biograph Company. In 1911, he was signed by D.W. Griffith. His first film for Griffith was The Sorrowful Shore, a sea story. One of his most popular roles was as the good-hearted outlaw Cheyenne Harry.
Abraham LincolnAbraham Lincoln'' (1930 film)Abraham Lincoln'' (1930)
This was Griffith's second portrayal of Lincoln's assassination, the first being in The Birth of a Nation. Abraham Lincoln is part of the David Wark Griffith collection at the Museum of Modern Art, and it was donated as a gift from screenwriter-producer Paul Killiam, a noted collector of silent movies. Funding for the preservation of this film was provided by The Lillian Gish Trust for Film Preservation, The Film Foundation, and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. More recent assessments of Abraham Lincoln have been less effusive in their praise of the film, finding that Abraham Lincoln has not aged well.
WilsonPresident WilsonPresident Woodrow Wilson
During Wilson's presidency, D. W. Griffith's film The Birth of a Nation (1915) was the first motion picture to be screened in the White House. Griffith adapted it from the novel The Clansman, written by Wilson's old friend Thomas Dixon Jr. The film, while revolutionary in its cinematic technique, glorified the Ku Klux Klan and portrayed blacks as uncouth and uncivilized.
David ShepardDavid H. ShepardDavid Shepherd
June 2006 interview at Silents Are Golden. 2011 interview at Northwest Chicago Film Society.
rediscoveredformerly lostrediscovered film
Many films of the silent era have been lost. Bezhin Meadow, directed by Sergei Eisenstein, the production was halted in 1937 by the Soviet government; it was thought lost in World War II, but cuttings and partial prints were found and used to make a 35-minute "silent film slide show". List of lost films. List of incomplete or partially lost films. List of lost silent films at www.silentera.com. Lost Films database.
U.S. Representative Stevens
In 1915, D. W. Griffith's film The Birth of a Nation (based on the novel "The Clansman", by Thomas Dixon Jr.) was released, containing the villainous character, Congressman Austin Stoneman, who resembled Stevens down to the ill-fitting wig, limp, and African-American lover, named Lydia Brown. This popular treatment reinforced and reinvigorated public prejudices towards Stevens. According to Foner, "as historians exalted the magnanimity of Lincoln and Andrew Johnson, Stevens came to symbolize Northern malice, revenge, and irrational hatred of the South."
mammyblack Mammyarchetypal "mammy
Mammy as played by Jennie Lee in D. W. Griffith's 1915 silent epic The Birth of a Nation. Mammy, played by Hattie McDaniel, Gone with the Wind, 1939. Louise Beavers played a mammy, cook, slave, or servant in almost all of her film roles. The more well known are: Belle Starr (1941), Jack London (1943), Imitation of Life (1934), I Dream of Jeanie (1952) and Holiday Inn (1942). Delilah, played by Virginia Capers, Big Jake, 1971. Louise, played by Margo Moorer, Forrest Gump, 1994. Ma Soupswill, Rare, Grabbed by the Ghoulies, 2003. Aibileen Clark, played by Viola Davis, The Help, 2011. Minny Jackson, played by Octavia Spencer, The Help, 2011.
Oldham CountyOldham Oldham County, Kentucky
D. W. Griffith, highly influential film director (The Birth of a Nation, Intolerance). Buddy Pepper, former songwriter, pianist, composer, arranger, and actor. Knocked Loose, a hardcore band signed to Pure Noise Records. Louisville/Jefferson County–Elizabethtown–Madison, KY-IN Combined Statistical Area. Moist county. National Register of Historic Places listings in Oldham County, Kentucky. The Oldham Era.