Billy Bitzer: Close-up on ‘one black hell’

posted in: Early moving pictures | 1

  Flooding from Hurricane Harvey in Texas this week sent me looking for an old friend who photographed the aftermath of the horrific Galveston hurricane of 1900. The great G.W. “Billy” Bitzer was a cameraman at American Mutoscope and Biograph … Continued

Griffith’s Secret Scandal, Part 3

posted in: Early moving pictures | 2

Mrs. Mary Scott Castle’s erratic behavior made headlines both before and after her three-and-a-half year affair with actor Lawrence (D.W.) Griffith. So when she simply vanished from a Manhattan dinner party given in her honor, even her relatives balked at … Continued

Griffith’s Secret Scandal, Part 2

posted in: Early moving pictures | 0

Mary Scott’s sudden disappearance from a dinner party on March 23, 1901 was a complete shock to Lawrence (D.W.) Griffith. Until that evening he had seen himself largely as the victim in their relationship. He was a poet and would-be … Continued

Filming ‘Ben-Hur’ in Mussolini’s Italy

posted in: Hollywood history | 0

It’s a sad failing of silent film history that there isn’t more documentation of events in Italy during MGM’s first location shoot of “Ben-Hur.” Judging from the little that survives in memoirs, budget sheets, studio memos, and in a smattering … Continued

Unionizing Hollywood: ‘Ben-Hur’ and the Un-silencing of Labor in 1926

posted in: Hollywood history | 1

The history of labor relations in the motion picture industry throughout the silent film era is still not widely known — and for good reason. It was the one subject that Hollywood itself sought to suppress.   This greater silence … Continued

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