Cinema Century – January 8, 1921

One century ago this week, the January 8, 1921 edition of “Motion Picture News” noted that theater mogul Marcus Loew had departed from his usual policy of playing movies at his theaters for no more than three or four days at a stretch before replacing them with new titles. The conventional wisdom was that after …

Cinema Century – October 16, 1920

One century ago this week, the October 16, 1920 edition of “Motion Picture News” carried the following announcement: The news that a woman was about to become the primary director of the films of one of the top stars in the industry was actually not as startling as it may sound. A hundred years later …

The Cinema Century – April 24, 1920

One century ago this week, in the April 24, 1920 edition of “Motion Picture News,” a notice appeared announcing the forthcoming release of THE SAPHEAD. In retrospect, this film is notable as the feature film debut of silent comedy star Buster Keaton, but at the time the bigger news was that William H. Crane would …

The Cinema Century – March 6, 1920

One century ago this week, the March 6, 1920 edition of “Exhibitors Herald” carried a notice that Famous Players-Lasky would be mounting a production of DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE featuring matinee idol John Barrymore in the title role(s). This was by no means the first time that Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic story had been …

The Cinema Century – February 21, 1920

One century ago this week, the February 21, 1920 edition of “Moving Picture World” highlighted a spirited endorsement of the west coast as a venue for shooting motion pictures from producer Thomas H. Ince, by way of his director of publicity, Hunt Stromberg. One might think it hardly necessary to make such a case. The …

The Cinema Century – August 23, 1919

One century ago this week, the August 23, 1919 edition of “Moving Picture World” reported on a strike called by Actors’ Equity, the collective bargaining organization representing stage actors. The strike dealt a serious blow to management in the “legitimate” theater, but had little or no effect on motion picture production. Movie actors at the …

The Cinema Century – July 26, 1919

One century ago this week the July 26, 1919 edition of “Exhibitors Herald” reported that the recently-minted Realart Pictures had announced a slate of stars to be featured in its releases. What the article does not mention is that Realart was in fact a subsidiary of Famous Players-Lasky-Paramount. The precedent for this had been set …

The Cinema Century – June 7, 1919

One century ago this week, the June 7, 1919 edition of “Moving Picture World” carried the following announcement: The Culver City property in question had been the primary base of operations for Thomas H. Ince and his Triangle partners since 1916, the successor to Ince’s groundbreaking “Inceville” facility near Santa Monica. Triangle had seemed to …

The Cinema Century – May 24, 1919

One century ago this week an ad appeared in the industry trade papers announcing the distribution policy of the recently formed United Artists: The “open booking” policy referenced in the ad represented a sharp break with the “block booking” policy pioneered by Adolph Zukor at Paramount. The block booking paradigm was designed to leverage the …