100 Years Ago Today

A History Of Events And Happenings From Exactly One Hundred Years Ago

Sarah Bernhardt Film Premieres In New York

Adolph Zukor is a Hungarian immigrant to the US who worked himself up from a garment worker to a successful furrier. In 1903 he invested in an arcade salon that featured Thomas Edison’s new inventions – phonographs, electric lights and moving pictures. He soon owned several of these salons in New York City. In May 1912 the Famous Players Film Company was founded by Zukor in partnership with the Frohman Brothers who were the largest theater owners in New York. The company advertises “Famous Players in Famous Plays.”

Sarah Bernhardt is perhaps the world’s most famous actress. Lou Tellegen is a European actor who has become romantically involved with the great actress although she is 37 years older than him. In 1910 they made a film together in France – La Dame Aux Camelias. In 1912 they made another film – Les Amours de la Reine Élisabeth (The Loves of Queen Elizabeth) based on the love affair between Elizabeth I of England and the Earl of Essex. The production company making the film in France – L’Histrionic Films, was forced into liquidation during the film’s production. Adolph Zukor approached the Frohman Brothers with a proposal to buy and complete the film and show it in the US.

On July 12, 1912 the full length silent film Les Amours de la reine Élisabeth starring Sarah Bernhardt is released in the United States as Queen Elizabeth, with title cards in English.

Bernhardt and Tellegen in a scene from “Les Amours de le Reine Elisabeth”

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