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 …

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 – 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 …