While Melies in France and Porter in America were important, they were not the only early filmmakers and directors working to explore this new art form. Let's take a look at some other pioneers in the film industry.
The pair worked together and Acres used the camera to make the first successful film in Britain - Incident at Clovelly Cottage in 1895. It was at this point where the two entered into a partnership with a ten-year business agreement. This agreement lasted only six weeks before splitting. During their brief partnership, the two shot films. It is widely believed that Paul was angry because Acres had patented his own Kinetic camera in his own name - almost identical to the one they had developed together. The resulting projector became known as the Kinetic Lantern, Kineopticon, and the Cinematoscope.
As for Paul, he invented the Theatrograph projector and shot the first "news" films. Paul also made various “Actuality” films, and a short comedy - “The Soldier’s Courtship.” He is, also, curiously, responsible for the first Scrooge film. In 1898 Paul began construction on Britain’s first film studios in Muswell Hill, North London and during that summer produced over eighty short dramatic films.
Paul’s production company peaked during 1900 and 1905 but he gradually became disenchanted with the business. He returned to his previous occupation, concentrating on electrical engineering.
R.W. Paul: Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee (1897)
Birt Acres: Rough Sea at Dover (1895)
• Hepworth was an English film director, producer and screenwriter, he was among the founders of the British film industry and continued making films into the 1920s.How it Feels to Be Run Over (1900)
Explosion of a Motor Car (1900)
Alice in Wonderland (1903) by Cecil Hepworth
Rescued by Rover (1905), Cecil B. Hepworth; a sequel: The Dog Outwits the Kidnapper (1908)
That Fatal Sneeze (1907), Cecil B. Hepworth
• His father was a famous magic lantern showman.
• He became involved in the early stages of British filmmaking, working for both Birt Acres and Charles Urban, and wrote the first British book on the subject in 1897.
• With his cousin Monty Wicks he set up the production company Hepworth and Co. — later renamed the Hepworth Manufacturing Company, then Hepworth Picture Plays.
• In 1899 they built a small film studio in Walton-on-Thames. The company produced about three films a week, sometimes with Hepworth directing.
• Rescued by Rover (1905) was a huge success at the box office, starring a collie in the title role. The film is now regarded as an important development in film grammar, with shots being effectively combined to emphasize the action. Hepworth was also one of the first to recognize the potential of film stars, both animal and human, with several recurring characters appearing in his films.
• The company continued making popular films into the 1920s.
• The company went public to fund a large studio development but lost money and closed.
• Tragically, all of Hepworth's original film negatives were melted down.
Charles Pathé (1863-1957), French motion-picture magnate, who, in the early 20th century, was the first to create a system for mass-producing motion pictures. It is thanks to The Pathe Frere Co. that films were shared and distributed around the world. Now, a film made in New York could be seen as far away as Japan. This is the start of a worldwide cinema (and a lucrative business venture...) Check out information about Pathe and some of his company's films:
Aladdin & the Magic Lamp (1907)• Pathé began his career as an importer and merchant of the phonograph in France.
The Policeman's Little Run (1907) directed by Ferdinand Zecca
Slippery Jim (1910) directed by Ferdinand Zecca
Onesime Horloger (Onesime, Clock-Maker) (1912)
• He extended the business to include projectors and films, creating the company Pathé Frères in 1896.
• By 1901 he concentrated on film production, together with French director and producer Ferdinand Zecca.
• Pathé made films rapidly and reinvested the profits back into the business to improve the technical quality of his films.
• By 1905 the company was employing numerous production teams of scriptwriters, set builders, cameramen, directors, and actors, making short films in an assembly-line process.
• Pathe Company opened in New York in 1904 as a subsidiary of Pathe Freres (Bros.) in France and boasted a catalog of 12,000 titles.
• In 1909, Pathe was asked to join Edison in forming the Motion Picture Patents Company (MPPC) to try to shut out smaller studios.
• In 1911, Pathe Weekly was issued. This is the first newsreel.
• WWI took its toll on the company. Pathe ceased production in the US in 1914.
• In 1915, the Pathe Freres temporarily moved its headquarters to New York and changed its name to Pathe Exchange, Inc.
• In 1923, Pathe Exchange sold for 26 million Francs and came under the control of Merrill Lynch.
• In 1926, Joe Kennedy (father of John F. Kennedy) becomes president of the company and a film director.
• In 1930, Pathe Exchange merges with PDC, K-A-O, and DeMille to become RKO
Hollywood has never been that original compared to early filmmakers. Here are a few films that keep getting made over and over again. Other films of the early 20th century:
- Joan D'Arc (1900) George Melies, compare to The Messenger (trailer, 1999) and the film.
- Frankenstein (Edison) (1910), compare to Frankenstein (trailer, 1931), and the newest flop Victor Frankenstein (trailer, 2015)
- A Trip to Mars (Edison) (1910), compare to The Martian (trailer, 2015)
- Wizard of Oz (1910), compare to The Wizard of Oz (1939), and Oz, The Great & Wonderful (2013)
- James Searle Dawley: Rescued From an Eagle's Nest (1907, Frodo & Sam were not the first little guys to get rescued!); compare to Return of the King (2011)
Sign up for one of these actors/directors/producers and begin to research them:
Lon Chaney, Sr.; Douglas Fairbanks, Sr.; Janet Gaynor; Lillian Gish; Clara Bow; Lois Weber, Claudette Colbert; Jean Harlow; Mary Pickford; Carole Lombard; Conrad Veidt; Harold Lloyd; Rudolph Valentino; John Barrymore; Gloria Swanson; Greta Garbo; Mae Marsh; Cecil B. DeMille; Carl Laemmle; Oscar Micheaux; Evelyn Preer; Thomas Ince; King Vidor; Erich Von Stroheim