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From 1896 to 1906 Alice Guy was probably the only woman film director in the world. She had begun as a secretary for Léon Gaumont and made her first film in 1896. After that first film she directed and produced or supervised almost six hundred silent films ranging in length from one minute to thirty minutes, the majority of which were of the single-reel length. In addition, she also directed and produced or supervised one hundred and fifty synchronized sound films for the Gaumont Chronophone. Her Gaumont silent films are notable for their energy and risk-taking; her preference for real locations gives the extant examples of these Gaumont films a contemporary feel. As Alan Williams has described her influence, Alice Guy “created and nurtured the mood of excitement and sheer aesthetic pleasure that one senses in so many pre-war Gaumont films, including the ones made after her departure from the Paris studio” (57). Most notable of her Gaumont period films is Vie du Christ (1906), a thirty-minute extravaganza that featured twenty-five sets as well as numerous exterior locations and over three hundred extras.
In early 1907, Guy resigned her position as head of Gaumont’s film production arm in Paris although she did not end her business relationship with Gaumont. This resignation was due to her marriage to Herbert Blaché, another Gaumont company employee. Léon Gaumont sent Herbert to Cleveland to start a Gaumont Chronophone franchise. After nine months the franchise failed, and Gaumont made Herbert manager of his New York studio in Flushing, Queens, which was originally built to produce English language chronophone films. Gaumont had an agreement with the Edison Company and the other members of the Motion Picture Patents Company (MPPC) that his company’s sound as well as silent motion pictures would be distributed as licensed films. In 1909 Edison, who planned his own synchronized sound device, the kinetophone, began to resist the idea of including the Gaumont company as a licensed MPPC distributor. As a result of Edison’s influence, Gaumont’s many applications for formal membership in the MPPC were rejected. The Flushing plant languished.
In 1910 Guy decided to take advantage of the under-used Flushing plant. She started her own company, Solax, and made silent films using the Gaumont studio. The Solax films were then distributed by Gaumont through George Kleine’s distribution company. By 1911 Solax was making enough money for the Blachés to move into their own large house. Guy built a $100,000 studio plant for Solax in Fort Lee, New Jersey, in 1912, the same year her second child, Reginald, was born, sister to Simone, born in 1908. Once Gaumont, no longer part of the MPPC monopoly, joined the ranks of the independents, Solax had to negotiate for distribution on a state-by-state basis. For the two years that it was successful, the Solax Company jump-started the careers of several actors and made stars out of performers such as Darwin Karr and Blanche Cornwall, who starred in a series of melodramas that critiqued the social system, such as A Man’s a Man (1912), The Roads That Lead Home (1913), The Girl in the Armchair (1913), and The Making of an American Citizen (1911) as well as action films like The Detective and His Dog (1912) and the multi-reeler The Pit and the Pendulum (1913). Karr and Cornwall also starred in comedies like A Comedy of Errors (1912), Canned Harmony (1912), His Double (1912), and Burstop Holmes’ Murder Case (1913). But the actors that really brought Guy’s comic genius to life were Marion Swayne and Billy Quirk. They starred in A House Divided (1913) and Matrimony’s Speed Limit (1913), two typical examples of Alice Guy’s emphasis on marriage as an equal partnership and the reason these two extant films still appeal to audiences today. Guy also made numerous action films with female characters as heroes, many of them starring Vinnie Burns. Guy first cast Burns when she was an unknown teenager, then trained her to do her own stunts in actions films such as Two Little Rangers (1912), Greater Love Hath No Man (1913), and Guy’s masterpiece at Solax, the three-reeler Dick Whittington and His Cat (1913), for which the director had a real boat detonated.
The Solax films that stand out today are Guy’s comedies of cross-dressing, such as the extant titles Cupid and the Comet (1911), starring Vinnie Burns, and What Happened to Officer Henderson (1913), featuring Swayne and Quirck. There is as well the lost film In the Year 2000 (1912), with Quirck and Cornwall, in which male and female gender roles are completely reversed. The Solax Company provided a rich growth and learning environment for set designers like Ben Carré and Henri Ménessier, who had followed Alice Guy from Paris. Ménessier, who had designed the sets for Guy’s masterpiece at Gaumont, the 1906 La Vie du Christ, designed the sets for Guy’s film The Sewer (1912), starring Darwin Karr.
By 1913 the distribution difficulties began to make themselves felt. Herbert made various very creative efforts to make lucrative distribution deals for both Gaumont and Solax films. Solax moved from producing shorts to features the same year, while still producing shorts, but by 1914 it was clear that the day of the short film was over. Léon Gaumont, after his multiple business setbacks and the outbreak of the war in France, pulled out of the US market as did other French companies, with the exception of Pathé. The Blachés remained, but Solax had to borrow money from the Seligmans, the bankers who then owned the majority share in the company.
Partly to escape the Seligmans’ influence, Herbert started his own company, Blaché Features, for which he and Guy took turns directing feature-length films. After retooling themselves into various different corporate identities, such as the US Amusement Corporation, for which Guy directed The Ocean Waif in 1915, Herbert began to join loose coalitions with other filmmakers, such as Popular Plays and Players, for which Guy directed The Empress in 1917. Some of the films they directed for Popular Plays and Players were distributed by ALCO (“AL” as in Al Lichtman, the cofounder, and “CO” as in Company) (McMahan 2002, 179). ALCO was the production entity that led to the formation of Metro Pictures Corporation, which eventually joined the merger that became Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
By the late teens, both Guy and Herbert were directing feature films for hire. Guy directed a series of “painted woman” melodramas starring the great Olga Petrova, all of which appear to be lost. Her surviving feature from this period is the Marcus Loew production The Great Adventure (1918), starring Bessie Love, for which Agnes Christine Johnston wrote the screenplay. The couple divorced in 1920. Herbert remained in Hollywood and continued to direct features, including The Saphead, starring Buster Keaton, until 1927. He remarried and became a furniture merchant. He died in 1953. In 1922 Guy chose to return to France, where for the next thirty years she lectured widely on film and wrote magazine fiction and novelizations of film scripts, but she never remarried, nor did she make another film. She died in New Jersey in 1968 and is buried in the Catholic cemetery in Mahwah, New Jersey.
Bachy, Victor. Alice Guy-Blaché (1873-1968): la première femme cinéaste du monde. Perpignan: Institut Jean Vigo, 1993.
“Blache [sic] Forms New Company. Will Be Known as United States Amusement Corporation and Will Make Big Features.” Moving Picture World (2 May 1914): 653.
“Blache [sic] Enlarging Studio.” Moving Picture World (23 Nov. 1915): n.p.
“Edward Warren Leaves Solax.” Moving Picture World (16 Aug. 1913): 725.
“A Forty-Five minute Talking Picture.” Moving Picture World (24 May 1913): 801.
“Gaumont Talking Pictures.”New York Dramatic Mirror (31 Oct. 1908): 8.
Judson, J.K. “Kelly from the Emerald Isle: Barney Gilmore Plays His Well Known Role, ‘Kelly’ for the Solax Camera.”Moving Picture World vol. XVI, no. 9 (31 May 1913): 925.
“The Lure’ to Blaché Studio.” Moving Picture World (9 May 1914): 829.
MacDonald, M.I. “Madame Blaché’s Production of Auber’s Fra Diavolo.” Moving Picture News (15 June 1912): 18.
McMahan, Alison. Alice Guy Blaché: Lost Visionary of the Cinema. New York: Continuum, 2002.
------. Alice Guy Blaché: The Research and Books of Alison McMahan. http://www.aliceguyblache.com/
The Moving Picture World (23 Aug. 1913): 802-803. [Note: Blaché’s press release on pg. 804]
“The Pit and the Pendulum.” Ad. Moving Picture World (3 July 1913): 282-83.
Slide, Anthony, ed., The Memoirs of Alice Guy Blaché. Trans. Roberta and Simone Blaché. Metuchen, N.J.: The Scarecrow Press, 1986.
“The Solax Company.”Moving Picture News (15 July 1911): 14.
“Solax Company: What It Is Doing At the Studio” and “Mr. Wilbert Melville, Managing Director of the Solax Company.” Moving Picture News (17 June 1911): 8-9.
Williams, Alan. Republic of Images: A History of French Filmmaking. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1992.
“Will Pay $1,000 for Scenarios.” Moving Picture World (23 June 1916): 2250.Complete Project Bibliographies
A. Alice Guy Blaché: Extant Film Titles:
1. Alice Guy Blaché as Director, Producer, and Screenwriter
Dick Whittington and His Cat. Prod./dir./sc.: Alice Guy Blaché (Solax Co. US 1913) si, b&w, 3 reels; 2825 ft. Archive: GBB.
2. Alice Guy Blaché as Producer and Director
Cupid and the Comet. Prod./dir.: Alice Guy Blaché (Solax Co. US 1911) si, b&w. Archive: DEI.
His Mother’s Hymn. Prod./dir.: Alice Guy Blaché (Solax Co. US 1911) si, b&w, 35 mm. Archive: USL.
Mixed Pets. Prod./dir.: Alice Guy Blaché (Solax Co. US 1911) si, b&w, 35 mm. Archive: USW.
Outwitted by Horse and Lariat. Prod./dir.: Alice Guy Blaché (Solax Co. US 1911) si, b&w. Archive: DEB.
When Marian was Married. Prod./dir.: Alice Guy Blaché (Solax Co. US 1911) si, b&w, 35 mm. Archive: USW.
Across the Mexican Line. Prod./dir.: Alice Guy Blaché (Solax Co. US 1911) si, b&w, 16mm. Archive: PC.
Broken Oaths. Prod./dir.: Alice Guy Blaché (Solax Co. US 1912) si, b&w. Archive: GBB.
A Comedy of Errors. Prod./dir.: Alice Guy Blaché (Solax Co. US 1912) cas.: Darwin Karr, Billy Quirk, si, b&w, 944 ft. Archive: GBB.
Fight in the Dark. Prod./dir.: Alice Guy Blaché (Solax Co. US 1912) si, b&w, 574ft. Archive: GBB.
A Fool and His Money. Prod./dir.: Alice Guy Blaché (Solax Co. US 1912) cas.: James Russell, si, b&w, 35mm. Archive: USW.
For Love of the Flag. Prod./dir.: Alice Guy Blaché (Solax Co. US 1912) cas.: Darwin Karr, Blanche Cornwall, Lee Beggs, Magda Foy, si, b&w, 35mm. Archive: USW.
The High Cost of Living. Prod./dir.: Alice Guy Blaché (Solax Co. 1912) si, b&w, 35mm. Archive: USL.
A Man’s a Man. Prod./dir.: Alice Guy Blaché (Solax Co. US 1912) si, b&w, 35mm. Archive: USR.
The New Love and the Old. Prod./dir.: Alice Guy Blaché (Solax Co. 1912) cas.: Darwin Karr, si, b&w, 35mm. Archive: USW.
The Sewer. Prod./dir.: Alice Guy Blaché (Solax Co. US 1912) si, b&w, 35mm. Archive: USW.
Someone’s Luck Society. Prod./dir.: Alice Guy Blaché (Solax Co. US 1912) si, b&w. Archive: USM.
The Strike. Prod./dir.: Alice Guy Blaché (Solax Co. US 1912) si, b&w, 900ft. Archive: GBB.
A Severe Test. Prod./dir.: Alice Guy Blaché (Solax Co. US 1913) si, b&w, 16mm. Archive: PC.
Burstop Holmes’ Murder Case. Prod./dir.: Alice Guy Blaché (Solax Co. US 1913) si, b&w. Archive: EmGee.
The Coming of Sunbeam. Prod./dir.: Alice Guy Blaché (Solax Co. US 1913) si, b&w. Archive: USW.
His Double. Prod./dir.: Alice Guy Blaché (Solax Co. US 1913) si, b&w. Archive: EmGee.
Napoleon. Prod./dir.: Alice Guy Blaché (Solax Co. US 1913) cas.: Darwin Karr, Blanche Cornwall, Billy Quirk, si, b&w, 35mm. Archive: USW.
Officer Henderson/What Happened to Henderson. Prod./dir.: Alice Guy Blaché (Solax Co. 1913) si, b&w. Archive: FRL.
The Roads That Lead Home/Roads Lead Home. Prod./dir.: Alice Guy Blaché (Solax Co. US 1913) si, b&w, 35mm. Archive: USW.
The Thief. Prod./dir.: Alice Guy Blaché (Solax Co. US 1913) si, b&w. Archive: GBB.
Mr. Bruce Wins at Cards. Prod.: Herbert Blaché, Alice Guy Blaché, dir.: Alice Guy Blaché (Solax, 1914) si, b&w. Archive: GBB.
The Ocean Waif. Prod./dir.: Alice Guy Blaché, sc.: Frederick Chapin (Golden Eagle Pictures US 1916) cas.: Carlyle Blackwell, Doris Kenyon, si, b&w, 35mm, 5 reels. Archive: USW.
3. Alice Guy Blaché as Director and Co-Producer
The Pit and the Pendulum. Prod.: Herbert Blaché, Alice Guy Blaché, dir.: Alice Guy Blaché (Solax Co. US 1913) cas.: Darwin Karr, Fraunie Fraunholz, Blanche Cornwall, si, b&w, 35mm. Archive: USW, USM, CAO.
4. Alice Guy Blaché as Director and Co-Screenwriter
The Empress. Dir.: Alice Guy Blaché, sc.: Alice Guy Blaché, Holbrook Blinn (Popular Plays and Players US 1917) cas.: William Morse, Lynn Donaldson, Doris Kenyon, si, b&w, 5 reels. Archive: FRC.
5. Alice Guy Blaché as Director
The Great Adventure/Her Great Adventure/Spring of the Year. Dir.: Alice Guy Blaché, sc.: Agnes Christine Johnston (Pathé US 1918) cas.: Bessie Love, Chester Barnett, Flora Finch, si, b&w, 5 reels. Archive: GBB.
6. Alice Guy Blaché as Producer and Screenwriter
Beasts of the Jungle. Prod./aut.: Alice Guy Blaché, dir.: Edward Warren (Solax Co. US 1913) si, b&w, 3 reels. Archive: USR.
7. Alice Guy Blaché as Producer
Algie the Miner. Prod. Alice Guy Blaché, dir.: Edward Warren, Harry Shenck (Solax Co. US 1912) cas.: Billy Quirk, si, b&w, 35 mm. Archive: USW.
8. Alice Guy Blaché as Co-Producer
B. Filmography: Not Extant Titles:
1. Alice Guy Blaché as Producer and Director for Solax Co.
A Child’s Sacrifice, 1910; A Fateful Gift, 1910; Her Father’s Sin, 1910; Lady Betty’s Strategy, 1910; Mrs Richard Dare, 1910; One Touch of Nature, 1910; The Pawnshop, 1910; The Sergeant’s Daughter, 1910; Two Suits, 1910; What is to Be, Will Be, 1910; A Widow and Her Child, 1910; All Aboard for Reno, 1911; The Altered Message, 1911; Baby Needs Medicine, 1911; Baby’s Choice, 1911; Baby’s Rattle, 1911; The Bachelor’s Housekeeper, 1911; A Bad Egg, 1911; Beneath the Moon, 1911; The Best Policy, 1911; Between Life and Death, 1911; A Breezy Morning, 1911; Bridget the Flirt, 1911; A Bum and a Bomb, 1911; Caribou Hunting, 1911; Corinne in Dollyland, 1911; A Corner in Criminals, 1911; A Costly Pledge, 1911; The Count of No Account, 1911; Cupid and the Comet, 1911; Cupid’s Victory, 1911; A Daughter of the Navajo, 1911; Deaf and Dumb, 1911; The Devil in a Tin Cup, 1911; The Divided Ring, 1911; The Double Elopement, 1911; The Fascinating Widow, 1911; Fickle Bridget, 1911; Following Cousin’s Footsteps, 1911; For Big Brother’s Sake, 1911; A Gay Bachelor, 1911; The Girl and the Bronco Buster, 1911; The Girl and the Burglar, 1911; Grandmother Love, 1911; Hector’s Inheritance, 1911; Her Uncle’s Will, 1911; A Heroine of the Revolution, 1911; Highlands of New Brunswick, Canada, 1911; A Hindu Prince, 1911; His Best Friend, 1911; His Better Self, 1911; His Mother’s Hymn, 1911; His Sister’s Sweetheart, 1911; His Wife’s Insurance, 1911; The Hold-Up, 1911; The House of Peace, 1911; How Hopkins Raised the Rent, 1911; Husbands Wanted, 1911; In the Nick of Time, 1911; An Interrupted Elopement, 1911; An Italian’s Gratitude, 1911; Johnnie Waters the Garden, 1911; Let No Man Put Asunder, 1911; Life on Board a Battleship, 1911; The Little Flower Girl, 1911; The Little Kiddie Mine, 1911; The Little Shoe, 1911; Love, Whiskers, and Letters, 1911; A Lover’s Ruse, 1911; Love’s Test, 1911; A Maid’s Revenge, 1911; Marked for Life, 1911; A Marvelous Cow, 1911; A Mexican’s Girl’s Love, 1911; A Midnight Visitor, 1911; The Mill of the Gods, 1911; Naval Review, 1911; Nearly a Hero, 1911; Nellie’s Soldier, 1911; Never Too late to Mend, 1911; The Nightcap, 1911; An Officer and a Gentleman, 1911; Oh! You Stenographer!, 1911; The Old Excuse, 1911; Out of the Arctic, 1911; Out of the Depths, 1911; A Package of Trouble, 1911; The Patched Shoe, 1911; The Paper Making Industry, 1911; Percy and His Squaw, 1911; The Phony Ring, 1911; Put Out, 1911; A Reporter’s Romance, 1911; A Revolutionary Romance, 1911; Ring of Love, 1911; The Rose of the Circus, 1911; Salmon Fishing in Canada, 1911; The Scheme that Failed, 1911; Sensible Dad, 1911; Sergeant Dillon’s Bravery, 1911; Sergeant Mann’s Bravery, 1911; She Was Not Afraid, 1911; The Silent Signal, 1911; The Somnambulist, 1911; Starting Something, 1911; A Terrible Catastrophe, 1911; That June Bug, 1911; Their First Baby, 1911; Tramp Strategy, 1911; A Troublesome Picture, 1911; The Violin Maker of Nuremberg, 1911; The Voice of His Conscience, 1911; When Reuben Came to Town, 1911; The Will of Providence, 1911; At the Phone, 1912; Auto-Suggestion, 1912; The Bachelor’s Club, 1912; Bessie’s Suitors, 1912; Between Two Fires, 1912; Billie’s Troublesome Grip, 1912; Billy Boy, 1912; Billy, the Detective, 1912; Billy’s Insomnia, 1912; Billy’s Nurse, 1912; Billy’s Shoes, 1912; Black Sheep, 1912; Blighted Lives, 1912; The Blood Stain, 1912; The Boarding House, 1912; Bottles, 1912; Buddy and his Dog, 1912; By the Hand of a Child, 1912; The Call of the Rose, 1912; The Child of the Tenements, 1912; Count Henri, The Hunter, 1912; Mrs. Cranston’s Jewels, 1912; The Dog-Gone Question, 1912; Economical Brown, 1912; The Face at the Window, 1912; Father and the Boys, 1912; The Finger Prints, 1912; The Fixer Fixed, 1912; Flesh and Blood, 1912; The Flour Flush Actor, 1912; Four Friends, 1912; Frozen on Love’s trail, 1912; The Fugitive, 1912; The Glory of Light, 1912; God Disposes, 1912; The Gold Brick, 1912; The Great Discovery, 1912; A Guilty Conscience, 1912; Handle with Care, 1912; The Hater of Women , 1912; Hearts Unknown, 1912; His Lordship’s White Feather, 1912; His Musical Soul, 1912; Hotel Honeymoon, 1912; Hubby Does the Washing, 1912; The Idol Worshipper, 1912; Imagination, 1912; In the Year 2000, 1912; Indian Summer, 1912; The Jenkins-Perkins War, 1912; Just a Boy, 1912; Just Hats, 1912; The Knight in Armor, 1912; The Legend of the Balanced Rock, 1912; Lend Me Your Wife, 1912; The Life of a Rose, 1912; The Little Soldier, 1912; Love’s Railroad, 1912; The Maverick, 1912; Memories of ’49, 1912; Mignon, 1912; The Old Violin, 1912; Open to Proposals, 1912; Our Poor Relations, 1912; The Paralytic, 1912; Phantom Paradise, 1912; The Pink Garters, 1912; Planting Time, 1912; Playing Trumps, 1912; The Power of Money, 1912; The Prodigal Wife, 1912; A Question of Hair, 1912;The Raffle, 1912; The Reformation of Mary, 1912; The Report From Eden, 1912; The Requital, 1912; Riding Feats of the 15th Cavalry, 1912; Saved by a Cat, 1912; Sealed Lips, 1912; Slippery Jim, 1912; Si’s Surprise Party, 1912; The Snowman, 1912; The Soul of The Violin, 1912; Souls in the Shadow, 1912; The Spry Spinsters, 1912; A Terrible Lesson, 1912; Treasures on the Wing, 1912; Winsome But Wise, 1912; The Wise Witch of Fairyland, 1912; The Woman Behind the Man, 1912; The Wonderful Oswego Falls, 1912; The Wooing of Alice, 1912; The Amateur Highwayman, 1913; The Bachelor’s Housekeeper, 1913; The Bashful Boy, 1913; Burstop Holmes, Detective, 1913; Canine Rivals, 1913; The Case of the Missing Girl, 1913; The Climax, 1913; Cousins of Sherlock Holmes, 1913; Dad’s Orders, 1913; The Eyes of Satan, 1913; The Henpecked Burglar, 1913; His Son-in-Law, 1913; His Wife’s Affinity, 1913; In the Wrong Flat, 1913; The King’s Messenger, 1913; The Kiss of Judas, 1913; The Lady Doctor, 1913; The Man in the Sick Room, 1913; The Man who Failed, 1913; A Million Dollars, 1913; The Monkey Accomplice, 1913; Mother and Daughter, 1913; The Mutiny of Mr. Henpeck, 1913; The Mystery of the Lost Cat, 1913; The Ogres, 1913; Overcoats, 1913; The Past Forgiven, 1913; The Plan of the House, 1913; The Quarrelers, 1913; The Rogues of Paris, 1913; The Scheming Woman, 1913; The Silver Cross, 1913; Till the Day Breaks, 1913; The Way of the Transgressor, 1913; Where Love Dwells, 1913; The Wrong Box, 1913.
2. Alice Guy Blaché as Director, Screenwriter, and Co-Producer with Herbert Blaché for Solax Co. and Blaché Features, Inc.
Shadows of the Moulin Rouge, 1913; Beneath the Czar, 1914; The Dream Woman, 1914; The Lure, 1914; The Monster and the Girl, 1914; The Tigress, 1914; The Woman of Mystery, 1914.
3. Alice Guy Blaché as Director, Screenwriter, and Co-Producer with Herbert Blaché for U.S. Amusement Corporation
House of Cards, 1917; A Man and the Woman, 1917.
4. Alice Guy Blaché as Director and Co-Producer with Herbert Blaché for Solax Co. and Blaché Features, Inc.
As the Bell Rings, 1913; As Ye Sow, 1913; Ben Bolt, 1913; Blood and Water, 1913; A Child’s Intuition, 1913; The Coat That Came Back, 1913; Cooking for Trouble, 1913; Dooley and His Dog, 1913; A Drop of Blood, 1913; The Dynamited Dog, 1913; Falsely Accused, 1913; Fisherman’s Luck, 1913; The Flea Circus, 1913; Four Fools and A Maid, 1913; Gratitude, 1913; Gregory’s Shadow, 1913; Handcuffed for Life, 1913; The Heavenly Widow, 1913; Her Mother’s Picture, 1913; The Hopes of Belinda, 1913; The Intruder, 1913; Invisible Ink, 1913; Ish Ga Bibble, 1913; The Lame Man, 1913; The Little Hunchback, 1913; The Merry Widow, 1913; Men and Muslin, 1913; The Message to Heaven, 1913; The Quality of Mercy, 1913; Retribution, 1913; Romeo in Pajamas, 1913; The Smuggler’s Child, 1913; The Soul of Man, 1913; Strangers from Nowhere, 1913; Tale of a Cat, 1913; A Terrible Night, 1913; That Dog, 1913; True Hearts, 1913; Western Love, 1913; When the Tide Turns, 1913; An Unexpected Meeting, 1913.
5. Alice Guy Blaché as Director and Producer for Popular Plays and Players
The Vampire, 1915.
6. Alice Guy Blaché as Director and Co-Producer with Herbert Blaché for Popular Plays and Players
What Will People Say?, 1916.
7. Alice Guy Blaché as Director and Co-Producer with Herbert Blaché for U.S. Amusements Corporation
The Adventurer, 1917; Behind the Mask, 1917.
8. Alice Guy Blaché as Director and Screenwriter
The Heart of a Painted Woman, 1915; My Madonna, 1915; Tarnished Reputations, 1920.
9. Alice Guy Blaché as Producer and Screenwriter
Kelly from the Emerald Isle, 1913.
10. Alice Guy Blaché as Producer for Solax Co.
An Enlisted Man’s Honor, 1911; The Mascot of Troop “C”, 1911; The Stampede, 1911; The Equine Spy, 1912; Mickey’s Pal, 1912.
11. Alice Guy Blaché as Co-Producer with Herbert Blaché as Director for Blaché Features
A Fight for Millions, 1913; The Fortune Hunters, 1913; A Prisoner in the Harem, 1913; The Star of India, 1913; The Million Dollar Robbery, 1914.
12. Alice Guy Blaché as Co-Producer with Herbert Blaché as Director for Popular Plays and Players
The Shooting of Dan McGrew, 1915; Barbara Frietchie, 1915; The Song of the Wage Slave, 1915.
13. Alice Guy Blaché as Co-Producer with Herbert Blaché for Popular Plays and Players
The Ragged Earl, 1914; The Black Butterfly, 1916; The Devil at his Elbow, 1916; The Eternal Question, 1916; Extravagance, 1916; The Iron Woman, 1916; The Lure of a Heart’s Desire, 1916; Playing with Fire, 1916; The Scarlet Woman, 1916; The Soul Market, 1916; The Spell of the Yukon, 1916; The Weakness of Strength, 1916; Bridges Burned, 1917; The Secret of Eve, 1917.
14. Alice Guy Blaché as Assistant Director to Herbert Blaché
The Brat, 1919; The Divorcée, 1919; Stronger than Death, 1920.
C. DVD/VHS Sources
Early Women Filmmakers: An International Anthology. DVD. (Flicker Alley US 2017) - contains Les Chiens Savants (1902), Une Histoire Roulante (1906), La Barricade (1907), Falling Leaves (1912), Making an American Citizen (1912), and The Girl in the Armchair (1912).
The Movies Begin. DVD box set. (Kino Lorber US 2002)- contains Making an American Citizen (1912)
The Ocean Waif. DVD. (Kino Lorber US 2008)
Origins of Film. DVD box set. (Image Entertainment US 2001)- contains A House Divided (1913) and Matrimony's Speed Limit (1913)
More Treasures from the American Film Archives. DVD box set. (Image Entertainment US 2004) - contains Falling Leaves (1912)
Gaumont Treasures Part 1. DVD box set. (Kino Lorber US 2009) - contains almost all extant films made in France.
Seven Silent Films: Lost for a Century. DVD. (American Media International 2012) - contains A Fool and His Money (1912)
D. Streamed Media:
Trailer for documentary Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché (2018)
Clip from The Strike (1912)
Across the Mexican Line (1911) available on Amazon Prime (through Harpodeon)
A Severe Test (1913) available on Amazon Prime (through Harpodeon)
Canned Harmony (1912) is streaming online via Kanopy
Falling Leaves (1912) is streaming online via Kanopy
A House Divided (1913) is streaming online via Kanopy
The Ocean Waif (1916) is streaming online via Kanopy
Gaumont Treasures Part 1 is streaming online via Kanopy
This filmography presents the work of Alice Guy Blaché’s filmmaking career in the United States. We have credited her as Alice Guy Blaché since she took Herbert Blaché’s surname at their marriage and used it professionally. This filmography has been compiled using several sources: the research of Alison McMahan and Kim Tomadjoglou, FIAF Treasures database, and Paul Spher. Alice Guy Blaché directed hundreds films in France and the United States. This filmography is a comprehensive list of films made in the United States, but it is by no means complete. In 2012, Tomadjoglou reported that The Coming of a Sunbeam was a new addition to the Library of Congress and that she discovered an extant print in the EYE Filmmuseum collection. We hope that there are more discoveries in the future. The accessibility of extant prints varies for each archive. Check with the archives for information.
While most archives have 35mm prints of Guy Blaché’s films, some films exist as 16mm copies: The Girl in the Arm-Chair (ITG), A House Divided 16mm (ITG), Matrimony’s Speed Limit (ITG, AUC). Information on the extent of Alice Guy Blaché’s contribution to the films listed in the filmography came primarily from two sources, Alison McMahan’s book, Alice Guy Blaché, Lost Visionary of the Cinema, published in 2002, and her essay, “Madame Blaché in America: Director, Producer, Studio Owner,” included in Alice Guy Blaché: Cinema Pioneer, published in 2009 in conjunction with the retrospective of Guy Blaché’s career at the Whitney Musuem. According to both of McMahan’s works, Herbert Blaché joined Solax Co. in June, 1913 and took an active role in its leadership and film production. Producer credit is given to both Alice Guy Blaché and Herbert Blaché for films made for Solax after that date. While Alice Guy Blaché: Lost Visionary of the Cinema (henceforth AGB: 2002) is the basis for “ Madame Blaché in America” (henceforth AGB: 2009), there are at times somewhat conflicting statements between these two works regarding the credits for certain films. In AGB: 2002 and AGB: 2009, McMahan states that The Lure was the first film Alice Guy Blaché made for a company other than Solax Co. and Blaché Features, Inc. and initiated the Blaché’s’ careers as directors-for-hire (AGB: 2002, 173; AGB: 2009, 59). Yet, in the filmography of AGB: 2002, McMahan lists Blaché Features, Inc. as the production company of The Lure. Spher also lists Blaché Features, Inc. However, as McMahan notes in both her works, Guy Blaché was asked by William Brady to direct the film for the Schubert Film Manufacturing, with Brady producing and choosing the script and cast. Alice Guy Blaché’s involvement in the films made for Popular Plays and Players requires clarification. Needing financing and hoping to secure a better foothold in the feature film business, the Blachés joined Popular Plays and Players, a coalition of production companies headed by Al Lichtman, Walter Hoff Seeley and Louis B. Mayer, who approved scripts, cast, and credits. McMahan states that “after years of running her own show” Alice Guy Blaché “was now a director working for hire. She was given a fixed budget and told what kind of film to make, whom to cast in it, and who would be on her crew” (AGB: 2009, 60). Many of the films under Popular Plays and Players aegis were made at the Solax Studios which the Blaché’s still owned (AGB: 2002, xxi). While it is possible to give producer credit to Alice Guy Blaché or the Blaché’s for Popular Plays and Players films, as McMahan does in the filmography in AGB: 2002, one could question whether or not they had as much creative and administrative freedom as they had as producers for Solax Co. and Blaché Features, Inc. In AGB: 2002, the following films are listed as being produced by Alice Guy Blaché, or by both Guy Blaché and Herbert Blaché for Popular Plays and Players: The Ragged Earl, 1914; The Shooting of Dan McGrew, 1915; Barbara Frietchie, 1915; The Song of the Wage Slave, 1915; The Soul Market, 1916; The Spell of the Yukon, 1916; The Lure of a Heart’s Desire, 1916; Playing with Fire, 1916; The Scarlet Woman, 1916; The Eternal Question, 1916; The Devil at his Elbow, 1916; The Weakness of Strength, 1916; The Iron Woman, 1916; Extravagance, 1916; The Black Butterfly, 1916; Bridges Burned, 1917; The Secret of Eve, 1917. In 1916, the Blaché’s left Popular Plays and Players and made films for their own company, U.S. Amusement Corporation, which they had formed in 1914. According AGB: 2009, they made ten films under U.S. Amusement Corporation, each made to suit the programming demands of individual distributors (69-70). When compiling a filmography from several sources, discrepancies arise. According to the filmography in AGB: 2002, Aaron Hoffman was the screenwriter for My Madonna, but in both AGB: 2002 and AGB: 2009, McMahan reports that Guy Blaché wrote in her memoirs that she was given ten lines of the poem “My Madonna” by R.W. Service, a secretary, and 36 hours to write a screenplay (AGB: 2002, 185; AGB: 2009, 60, 69). In AGB: 2002, McMahan lists The Girl with the Green Eyes (1916) in the filmography, but does not provide a credit for Guy Blaché. Since it was directed by Herbert Blaché for Popular Plays and Players, it is possible that she was involved in the production, especially if it was filmed at Solax Studios. Spher states that that she directed the film. The filmography in AGB:2002 lists When You and I were Young, 1917, but does not credit either Alice Guy Blaché, or Herbert Blaché. The production companies are listed as Apollo Pictures and U.S. Amusement Corp. Apollo Pictures may have used the Fort Lee studio for the film, since according to AGB: 2009, the Blaché’s rented the studio to the company (72). However, Spher and IMDB credit Alice Guy Blaché as director. Spher credits Ben Bolt, 1913, to Guy Blaché, but according to IMBD, the director is Howell Hansel. The film is not listed in the AGB: 2002 filmography. Yet Spher’s credits also require double checking, since he incorrectly attributes Greater Love Hath No Man to Popular Plays and Players. Finally, Spher gives Guy Blaché scenario/screenwriting credit for Kelly from Emerald Isle, 1913; Monster and the Girl, 1914; The Tigress, 1914; and Heart of a Painted Woman, 1915. Tomadjoglou lists 1911 as the date for Dublin Dan; AGB:2002 and FIAF lists 1912. FIAF lists 1916 for The Empress 1916; AGB:2002 and Tomadjoglou list. 1917.
Alice Guy Blaché directed for and worked at the companies owned by other female film pioneers. She directed Flora Finch in The Great Adventure (1918) written by Agnes Christine Johnston. She directed Olga Petrova in 1915 for The Heart of a Painted Woman, The Vampire, and My Madonna; in 1916 for What Will People Say?, The Scarlet Woman, Extravagance, and The Black Butterfly (screenplay by Lillian Case Russell); and in 1917 for Bridges Burned and The Secret of Eve. She was the assistant director for The Divorcée (1919), co- written by June Mathis Finally, she was assistant director on The Brat (1919) and Stronger than Death (1920) directed by Herbert Blaché for Alla Nazimova’s Nazimova’s Productions and starring the actress. The filmography for Alice Guy Blaché’s work in France will be included in Phase II of the project, which includes Europe.
Filmography compiled by Diana Wade with assistance from Alexis Nelson