Chasing Cines: On the Trail of Italy’s Lost ‘Ben-Hur’ Studio

posted in: Early moving pictures | 0

“Whither goest thou?” asks the Latin title to one of world cinema’s earliest blockbusters, “Quo Vadis?” When it comes to the film studio that made “Quo Vadis?” back in 1912, however, the question becomes not where was it headed but … Continued

June Mathis: The Devil and Hollywood’s “Million Dollar Girl”

posted in: Hollywood history | 0

Surprisingly little is written about June Mathis these days. But in the early 1920s she was considered the most powerful female executive in Hollywood. Even film historians who focus on the industry’s female trailblazers don’t devote much space to Mathis. … Continued

Mrs. Patrick Campbell and the Myth of the Female ‘Vampire’

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  Long before the first silent movie “vamp” and two decades before the public knew of Theda Bara, Olga Petrova, Pola Negri or Nita Naldi, Mrs. Patrick Campbell inspired the iconic myth of the female “vampire”—a sexual predator who sucks … Continued

Meeting McClellan

posted in: Writer's notebook | 0

You can never predict where research will lead you when writing an historical novel. One fact I could not avoid when doing research for “The Designated Virgin” was the deep political divides that existed at the time of the Civil … Continued

‘The Voice of the Violin’: Art and Social Justice at American Biograph Co.

posted in: Early moving pictures | 3

  “When we come into our own there will be no high, no low, and all will be equal” reads the sign at a meeting of “social justice” warriors in Biograph’s 1909 feature film, “The Voice of the Violin.” D.W. … Continued