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I'm a big fan of LILLIAN GISH.  She was an acting original and one of our greatest film stars, as well as a tireless champion of silent movies and their restoration (and she hailed from my home state of Ohio).  My late cousin, a silent film collector and film historian, actually met her in the 1970s.  I consider it a minor sin that her and her sister Dorothy's names were removed last spring from that theatre at Bowling Green State University.

Anyway, I just learned that Gish wrote and directed a silent that was released almost 100 years ago: Remodeling Her Husband, starring Dorothy.  The film, like so many other silents, is considered "lost."  It's a film that is also notable for the involvement of writer Dorothy Parker, who provided intertitles (whatever they are).  Wikipedia calls it "nearly an all-woman produced movie with the exception of the cameraman."  I could be wrong, but this movie might be the first ever that was directed by a woman.

Here's a link to a short, lukewarm review from Variety magazine on December 31, 1919:

https://variety.com/1919/film/reviews/remodeling-her-husband-1200409323/

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1 hour ago, scsu1975 said:

Thanks for bringing this film to our attention. There were other women who directed films prior to Miss Gish - Lois Weber, for instance.

Fascinating about both Lois Weber and Alice Guy-Blaché, and shows how much I need to learn about the Silent era.  I just glanced at both ladies' Wikipedia bios, which included Weber's courageous 1913 film The Jew's Christmas.  It's a shame these two women aren't better known.

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3 hours ago, sewhite2000 said:

I think intertitles are the dialogue that appears on the cards between shots in silent films.

I misread this three times as "infertiles" and was very confused by the explanation.

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6 hours ago, hamradio said:

It is.  Been noticing a few film restorers have been replacing the original with newer / less nostalgic looking plain text cards.  :(

intertitles-9-638.jpg?cb=1513070957

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intertitle

I have a mixed emotion on this one; while I love the look of the originals, sometimes they are very difficult to read, especially on a TV.

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7 hours ago, greenpete58 said:

Fascinating about both Lois Weber and Alice Guy-Blaché, and shows how much I need to learn about the Silent era.  I just glanced at both ladies' Wikipedia bios, which included Weber's courageous 1913 film The Jew's Christmas.  It's a shame these two women aren't better known.

In the early days, movies were thought of as just a novelty. Many women were able to work behind the camera. Alice Guy might be the first to actually have a camera operator. Before her, most directors also handled the cameras during shots.

Then of course after films like Birth of a Nation (1915), showed how successful films could be, big businessmen came in and swept the women away.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/19/2019 at 10:23 AM, greenpete58 said:

Fascinating about both Lois Weber and Alice Guy-Blaché, and shows how much I need to learn about the Silent era.  I just glanced at both ladies' Wikipedia bios, which included Weber's courageous 1913 film The Jew's Christmas.  It's a shame these two women aren't better known.

At this point they’re as well known as anyone...at least to silent film people.  They’re no worse off than most silent film figures, largely neglected with even people who would call themselves “classic film fans.”

I only say so because even though Kevin Brownlow, David Shepard, and others have been referencing and featuring them in their work for decades, this idea that they’ve been overlooked is still mentioned left and right, year after year.  Alice Guy was working during the pioneering days and is on par with those filmmakers - interesting, but mostly curiosities for those interested in early cinema and the era and not great art.  Lois Weber was a part of the second generation, where things really started to ascend, and made some very fine films of the period like The Blot.  Her work has had difficulties getting out until recently, but I think that’s just the fact of life for a lot of silent era figures.

Flicker Alley and Kino each have released sets in the past few years about early women filmmakers that are quite worth picking up, especially the Flicker Alley.  Alice Guy has also been covered extensively in Gaumont’s releases of their early years, released by Kino in two box sets over here (she is in volume 1 with other key Gaumont figures Louis Feuillade and Leonce Perret) and was featured in the great The Movies Begin series of releases back in the 90s.

(As an aside, the Flicker Alley set’s liner notes also makes some outrageous reaches to try to make Guy’s work seem finer than it is...and makes a particularly baffling attempt to add a ridiculous modern socio-political angle that isn’t there to a film called Making An American Citizen - the immigrant being “pressured to assimilate and give up traditions” when the film’s only message is a very one note, straightforward “don’t beat your wife,” which I’d have thought everyone would think is a total positive.)

 

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4 hours ago, JonasEB said:

At this point they’re as well known as anyone...at least to silent film people.  They’re no worse off than most silent film figures, largely neglected with even people who would call themselves “classic film fans.”

Yes, you're probably correct.  Although my late cousin was a silent film collector, I'm not a "silent film person," so that explains my ignorance.  Thanks for your revealing information.

While I hardly ever watch silent films when TCM airs them, I'm somehow fascinated by them.  I love history and "old" things.  For me, it seemed like there was a quantum time leap when talkies arrived.  It blows me away when I see actors like Gary Cooper, Joan Crawford, Donald Crisp etc. (who I'm familiar with from their later films) honing their skills in silents.  It's as if they're two different people.

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