Vitagraph: America's First Great Motion Picture Studio

Vitagraph: America's First Great Motion Picture Studio

by Andrew A. Erish

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Available for Pre-Order. This item will be available on June 9, 2021

Overview

In Vitagraph, Andrew A. Erish provides the first comprehensive examination and reassessment of the company most responsible for defining and popularizing the American movie. This history challenges long-accepted Hollywood mythology that simply isn't true: that Paramount and Fox invented the feature film, that Universal created the star system, and that these companies, along with MGM and Warner Bros., developed motion pictures into a multi-million-dollar business. In fact, the truth about Vitagraph is far more interesting than the myths that later moguls propagated about themselves.

Established in 1897 by J. Stuart Blackton and Albert E. Smith, Vitagraph was the leading producer of motion pictures for much of the silent era. Vitagraph established America's studio system, a division of labor utilizing specialized craftspeople and artists, including a surprising number of women and minorities, whose aesthetic innovations have long been incorporated into virtually all commercial cinema. They developed fundamental aspects of the form and content of American movies, encompassing everything from framing, lighting, and performance style to emphasizing character-driven comedy and drama in stories that respected and sometimes poked fun at every demographic of Vitagraph's vast audience. The company overcame resistance to multi-reel motion pictures by establishing a national distribution network for its feature films. Vitagraph's international distribution was even more successful, cultivating a worldwide preference for American movies that endures to the present. For most of its existence America's most influential studio was headquartered in Brooklyn, New York before relocating to Hollywood.

Finally, here is a historically rigorous and thorough account of the most influential producer of American motion pictures during the silent era. Drawing on valuable primary material long overlooked by other historians, Erish introduces readers to the fascinating, forgotten pioneers of Vitagraph.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813181196
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
Publication date: 06/09/2021
Series: Screen Classics Series
Pages: 298
Sales rank: 936,882
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Andrew A. Erish is the author of Col. William N. Selig, the Man Who Invented Hollywood. He lives in New Port Richey, Florida.

Table of Contents

Introduction
Chapter One: 1875-1904
Chapter Two: 1905-1908
Chapter Three: 1909-1913
Chapter Four: 1914-1918
Chapter Five: 1919-1925
Chapter Six: 1926 and Beyond
Conclusion

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