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

Re-inventing Antioch

posted in: Hollywood history | 0

In 1925, Joseph M. Newman walked wide-eyed onto the most important movie set in Hollywood  history. The 16-year-old newcomer from Utah had been hired as an office boy by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. But on that Saturday morning of October 17 he reported … Continued

The World’s ‘First Male Sex Symbol’

posted in: Early moving pictures | 3

The world’s “first male sex symbol,” Baltimore’s Francis X. Bushman, got more than his allotted 15 minutes of fame. In fact, his image is still commanding respect today. Cast in bronze and chiseled in marble, he is likely to continue … Continued