100 Years Ago Today

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

Biograph Releases New D W Griffith Film

The American Mutoscope and Biograph Company was founded by an ex-Edison employee who made flip-card movie machines for nickelodeon in direct competition with Edison. In 1896 they developed the Biograph projector which showed movies on a screen. The company soon became a leader in the film industry with distribution and production subsidiaries around the world.

In 1909 they changed their name to simply the Biograph Company. Biograph films before 1903 were mostly documentary footage of actual persons, places and events, each film usually less than two minutes long. The occasional narrative film, usually a comedy, was typically shot in one scene, with no editing. As the stories became more complex the films became longer with multiple scenes to tell the story.Director D.W. Griffith joined Biograph in 1908 as a writer and actor, but within months became their principal director. Griffith’s prolific output and willingness to experiment in many different genres helped the company become a major commercial success. In January 1910 Griffith traveled to Los Angeles to shoot the film RAMONA in authentic locations. Griffith and his players decided on a small village they had heard about that was friendly and had beautiful floral scenery called Hollywood. Biograph then made the first film ever in Hollywood called IN OLD CALIFORNIA. After the east coast film community heard about Hollywood other film companies began to migrate there. Griffith traveled back to the east coast to make films at the Biograph Studios in New Jersey.

On December 5, 1912 Biograph released THE NEW YORK HAT directed by D W Griffith from a screenplay by Anita Loos. It stars Mary Pickford, Lionel Barrymore, and Lillian Gish.

Scene from THE NEW YORK HAT1912



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