Griffith in California – Hollywood’s earliest films from a century ago

D.W. Griffith

Hosted by film historian Scott Simmon, curator for the “Treasures from American Film Archives” DVD anthologies and Professor of English at the University of California, Davis.

Presented on a 1909 hand-cranked Power’s Model 6 Cameragraph motion picture machine. Featuring live musical accompaniment by Michael Mortilla.

This second evening of films from one hundred years ago highlighted six of the films directed by D.W. Griffith in his first expedition to Southern California with his New York-based troupe of Biograph Company players and crew. Each film reflected a different location or topography, suggesting why this initial trip to the Los Angeles area for Griffith was soon emulated by several other U.S. and European film production companies, as the variety of backgrounds and beauty of the area were immediately evident when these films were projected on screens around the world.

Biograph films screened included “Faithful,” shot in Hollywood and starring Mack Sennett; “As It Is in Life,” shot at a pigeon farm that was a popular tourist attraction of the day; “Love among the Roses,” shot in a Hollywood rose garden; “Ramona,” shot in Ventura County, the setting of the original novel, and starring Mary Pickford; “Over Silent Paths,” shot in the San Fernando desert; and “A Rich Revenge,” a comedy set in the California oil fields. The films were presented on a 1909 hand-cranked motion picture machine restored and operated by Joe Rinaudo.

An added bonus was the re-premiere of the 1910 Selig film “The Sergeant,” shot in Yosemite and starring Hobart Bosworth, from a print recently discovered in New Zealand that had long been thought to be lost. This special screening of the Selig production directed by Francis Boggs celebrated the pioneering efforts of the first film company to open a permanent film studio in Los Angeles in 1909.

Most prints were in 35mm and were drawn from the collections of the Academy Film Archive, the Library of Congress, the Museum of Modern Art and the UCLA Film & Television Archive.

Event Information

Monday, November 29, at 7:30 p.m.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Linwood Dunn Theater
1313 Vine Street
Hollywood, CA 90028
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