The Cinema Century – April 12, 1919

One century ago this week, the April 12, 1919 issue of “Motion Picture News” carried the following item: It had become common by this time for large production companies to build their own studio facilities. Thomas Ince had built “Inceville” and Carl Laemmle had built “Universal City,” for example. Nor was it unheard of for …

The Cinema Century – June 15, 1918

One century ago this week, in its June 15, 1918 edition, the industry trade paper “Motography” featured the following announcement: If this strikes you as a very elaborate trade paper item for what is, after all, only the second screen appearance in the incipient career of a fledgling starlet, you’re right. Normally such an announcement …

The Cinema Century – June 1, 1918

In the back pages of its June 1, 1918 edition, one century ago this week, “Moving Picture World” ran the following news item: It was a minor item tucked away at the bottom of the page, one of many such announcements of studio comings and goings. Tod Browning was, after all, a director of no …

The Cinema Century – May 18, 1918

One century ago this week, the May 18th, 1918 edition of “Moving Picture World” carried the following two-page ad: Perhaps the single most striking thing about this ad from our perspective a century later is that a film of this prominence, considered worthy of an expensive advertising buy, was directed by a woman. Moreover, the …

The Cinema Century — May 4, 1918

One century ago this week, in its May 4, 1918 edition, “Motion Picture News” noted the expansion of the offices of the W.W. Hodkinson Corporation: This company was the latest venture of William Wadsworth Hodkinson (1881 – 1971), one of the pioneers of the business end of the American motion picture industry. Despite having been …

The Cinema Century – April 27, 1918

One century ago this week, the April 27, 1918 edition of “Exhibitors Herald” reported that Fox’s release of CLEOPATRA, starring Theda Bara, would not be censored in Chicago after all: This was the culmination of what had been largely a political struggle involving the city’s head censor, Major Metellus Lucullus Cicero Funkhouser, and his political …

The Cinema Century – April 20, 1918

The cliched example that is always cited in explanations of the limitations on freedom of speech is that it’s not okay to yell “fire!” in a crowded theater. This is, of course, predicated on the assumption that there is no actual fire. Presumably, if there really is a fire in the theater it would be …

The Cinema Century – April 13, 1918

One century ago this week, in its April 13, 1918 edition, “Motography” noted the verdict in a case that would have profound implications for what would become the dominant business model for the American motion picture industry: In the earliest days of storytelling movies the names of the actors who appeared in the films were …

The Cinema Century — April 6, 1918

One century ago this week, in its April 6, 1918 edition, “Moving Picture World” reported on the newest release from renowned director D. W. Griffith: Any picture directed by Griffith was bound to attract attention, of course. In a time when movie stars had become the primary marketing tools for new releases and the names …