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 – 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 – 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 …

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 — February 23, 1918

Believe it or not, there was a time when movie producers deliberately refrained from publicizing the names of the actors who appeared in their films. Their reasoning was that there would inevitably be some actors whose work pleased the moviegoing public more than others. If the public knew their names, they could ask for movies …