Contents 1 Founding 2 Studio 3 Rise of D.W. Griffith 4 Decline 5 Filmography 6 See also 7 References 8 External links


Founding[edit] William Kennedy Dickson in 1891, later the founder of the Biograph Company, while working for Thomas A. Edison, prior to the formation of Dickson's own film studio. The company was started by William Kennedy Dickson, an inventor at Thomas Edison's laboratory who helped pioneer the technology of capturing moving images on film. Dickson left Edison in April 1895, joining with inventors Herman Casler, Henry Marvin and businessman Elias Koopman to incorporate the American Mutoscope Company in New Jersey in December 1895. The firm manufactured the Mutoscope and made flip-card movies for it as a rival to Edison’s Kinetoscope for individual “peep shows”, making the company Edison’s chief competitor in the nickelodeon market. In the summer of 1896 the Biograph projector was released, offering superior image quality to Edison’s Vitascope projector. The company soon became a leader in the film industry, with distribution and production subsidiaries around the world, including the British Mutoscope Co. In 1899 it changed its name to the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, and in 1908 to simply the Biograph Company.[4] A still from the 1900 Biograph film The Temptation of St. Anthony, featuring a nude actress in an early, American motion picture, long before the Hollywood Motion Picture Production Code of film censorship was in effect. To avoid violating Edison’s motion picture patents, Biograph cameras from 1895-1902 used a large-format film, measuring 2-23/32 inches (68 mm) wide, with an image area of 2×2½ inches, four times that of Edison’s 35mm format. The camera used friction feed instead of Edison’s sprocket feed to guide the film to the aperture. The camera itself punched a sprocket hole on each side of the frame as the film was exposed at 30 frames per second.[5][6] A patent case victory in March 1902 allowed Biograph and other producers and distributors to use the less expensive 35 mm format without an Edison license, although Biograph did not completely phase out 68 mm production until autumn of 1903.[7] Biograph offered prints in both formats to exhibitors until 1905, when it discontinued the larger format.[8][9] Biograph films, before 1903, were mostly "actualities"--documentary film--footage of actual persons, places and events, each film usually less than two minutes long, such as the one of the Empire State Express, which premiered on October 12, 1896 in New York City.[10] The occasional narrative film, usually a comedy, was typically shot in one scene, with no editing. Spurred on by competition from Edison and British and European producers, Biograph production from 1903 onward was increasingly dominated by narratives. As the stories became more complex the films became longer, with multiple scenes to tell the story, although an individual scene was still usually presented in one shot without editing. Biograph's production of actualities ended by 1908 in favor of the narrative film.


Studio[edit] Main article: Biograph Studios Biograph's first studio was similar to Edison's Black Maria, pictured here, only located... ...on the roof of 841 Broadway in Manhattan The company's first studio was located on the roof of 841 Broadway at 13th St. in Manhattan, known then as the Hackett Carhart Building and today as the Roosevelt Building. The set-up was similar to Thomas Edison's "Black Maria" in West Orange, NJ, with the studio itself being mounted on circular tracks to be able to get the best possible sunlight (as of 1988 the foundations of this machinery were still extant). The company moved in 1906 to a converted brownstone mansion at 11 East 14th St. near Union Square, a building that was razed in the 1960s.[11] This was Biograph's first indoor studio, and the first movie studio in the world to rely exclusively on artificial light. Biograph moved again in 1913, as it entered feature film production, to a new state-of-the-art studio on 175th Street in the Bronx. There was the problem of the underground "duping" business, where people would illegally duplicate a copyrighted movie and then remove the title screen with the company and copyright notice and sell it to theaters. In order to make the theater audience aware that they were watching an American Biograph movie (regardless of whether it was illegally "duped" or not) the AB logo would be prominently placed in random parts of the movie.[12]


Rise of D.W. Griffith[edit] Play media Silent film The Wanderer (1913) by D.W. Griffith for Biograph. Running time: 06:24. A wandering flute player has a beneficent influence on a number of characters through the pure tones of his music as he passes by. Collection EYE Film Institute Netherlands. Director D.W. Griffith joined Biograph in 1908 as a writer and actor, but within months became its principal director. In 1908 the company's head director Wallace McCutcheon grew ill, and his son Wallace McCutcheon Jr. took his place but was not able to make a successful film for the company.[13] As a result of these failed productions, studio head Henry Marvin gave the position of head director to Griffith, whose first film was The Adventures of Dollie.[13] Griffith helped establish many of the conventions of narrative film, including cross-cutting to show events occurring simultaneously in different places, the flashback, the fade-in/fade-out, the interposition of closeups within a scene, and a moderated acting style more suitable for film. Although Griffith did not invent these techniques, he made them a regular part of the film vocabulary. His prolific output--often one new film a week--and willingness to experiment in many different genres helped the company become a major commercial success. Many early movie stars were Biograph performers, including Mary Pickford, Lionel Barrymore, Lillian Gish, Dorothy Gish, Robert Harron, Florence Auer, Robert G. Vignola, Alan Hale, Sr., Blanche Sweet, Harry Carey, Mabel Normand, Henry B. Walthall, Mae Marsh, and Dorothy Davenport. Mack Sennett honed his craft as an actor and director of comedies at Biograph. After debuting at Biograph, Mary Pickford also became a top star at the studio and would soon be known to audiences as "The Biograph Girl".[14] In January 1910 Griffith and Lee Dougherty with the rest of the Biograph acting company traveled to Los Angeles. While the purpose of the trip was to shoot Ramona in authentic locations, it was also to determine the suitability of the West Coast as a place for a permanent studio. The group set up a small facility at Washington Street and Grand Avenue (where the Los Angeles Convention Center now stands). After this, Griffith and his players decided to go a little further north to a small village they had heard about that was friendly and had beautiful floral scenery. They decided to travel there and fell in love with this little place called Hollywood. Biograph then made the first film ever in Hollywood called In Old California, a Latino melodrama about the early days of Mexico-owned California.[15] Griffith and the Biograph troupe filmed other short movies at various locations, then traveled back to New York. After the East Coast film community heard about Hollywood, other companies began to migrate there. Biograph’s little film launched Hollywood as the future movie capital of the world. It opened a studio at Pico and Georgia streets in downtown Los Angeles in 1911, and sent a film crew to work there each year until 1916. Griffith left Biograph in October 1913 after finishing Judith of Bethulia, unhappy with the company's resistance to larger budgets, feature film production or giving onscreen credit to him and the cast. With him went many of the Biograph actors, his cameraman Billy Bitzer and his production crew. As a final slight to Griffith, Biograph delayed release of Judith of Bethulia until March 1914, to avoid a profit-sharing arrangement the company had with him.[16]


Decline[edit] In December 1908 Biograph joined Edison in forming the Motion Picture Patents Company in an attempt to control the industry and shut out smaller producers.[17] The "Edison Trust,” as it was nicknamed, was made up of Edison, Biograph, Essanay Studios, Kalem Company, George Kleine Productions, Lubin Studios, Georges Méliès, Pathé, Selig Studios and Vitagraph Studios, and dominated distribution through the General Film Co. The Motion Picture Patents Co. and the General Film Co. were found guilty of antitrust violation in October 1915 and dissolved.[18] Shielded by the Trust, Biograph had been slow to enter feature film production. It contracted with the theatrical firm of Klaw & Erlanger in 1913 to produce movie versions of the latter’s plays. Its first released feature, Classmates, came out in February 1914, after 69 other American features had been released in 1912–13.[19] Distribution was hampered by Biograph using a special perforation pattern on the Klaw & Erlanger features that was incompatible with standard projectors, forcing exhibitors to lease specialized equipment from Biograph in order to show the films. With the exodus of the studio’s best actors to Griffith, Biograph was unable to develop a marketable star system as the independent companies were doing, and after the Trust’s fall, Biograph found itself behind the times. The Biograph Co. released its last new feature-length films in 1915 and its last new short films in 1916.[20] Biograph spent the remainder of the silent era reissuing its old films, and leasing its Bronx studio to other producers. A still from the 1903 Biograph film Sherlock Holmes Baffled. When the company fell on financial hard times, the studio facilities were acquired by one of Biograph Company's creditors, the Empire Trust Company, although Biograph continued to manage the studio. Herbert Yates acquired the Biograph Company studios and film laboratory facilities in 1928. Biograph Studios in the Bronx was made a subsidiary of his Consolidated Film Industries in 1928.[21][22] The studio and laboratory facilities burned down in 1980.[23] In 1939 Iris Barry, founder of the film department at the Museum of Modern Art, acquired 900 cans of film from Biograph, which was closing its film vault and planning to destroy all the film. One uncompleted film, Lime Kiln Field Day (1913), with an all African American cast, was found among the many cans of film, and shown at MOMA in November 2014. From 1954–57 Sterling Television Company distributed a package of 100 quarter-hour television shows titled Movie Museum, featuring Biograph, Edison and other early films from the vaults of the Museum of Modern Art and the George Eastman House.[24][25][26][27]


Filmography[edit] List of Biograph films released in 1909 List of Biograph films released in 1910


See also[edit] Companies portal Biograph Studios Biograph Theater Cinema of the United States History of cinema List of film formats List of Hollywood movie studios


References[edit] Notes ^ Elias Savada (Editor) (1995). The American Film Institute Catalog of Motion Pictures Produced in the United States: Film Beginnings, 1893–1910 — A Work in Progress: v. A. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-3021-3. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) ^ Lauritzen, Einar; Lundquist, Gunnar (1976). American Film-Index 1908–1915: Motion Pictures, July 1908 – December 1915. distributed by Akademiebokhandeln, University of Stockholm. Stockholm: Film-Index. ISBN 91-7410-001-7.  ^ "Business Detail: American Mutoscope & Biograph Company" Archived 2010-04-02 at the Wayback Machine. on the California Secretary of State website. Accessed: 2012-08-08 ^ Slide, Anthony (1998). The New Historical Dictionary of the American Film Industry. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-3426-X.  ^ Billy Bitzer. "The Biograph Camera". The Operating Cameraman. Society of Camera Operators (Spring 1995). Archived from the original (– Scholar search) on November 1, 2004. Retrieved 2004-11-30.  ^ Musser, Charles (1994). The Emergence of Cinema: The American Screen to 1907. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. pp. 303–313. ISBN 0-520-08533-7.  ^ "Continued Legal Battles". A Guide to Motion Picture Catalogs by American Producers and Distributors. Rutgers University.  ^ Gunning, Tom (December 12, 1993). D.W. Griffith and the Origins of American Narrative Film: The Early Years at Biograph. University of Illinois Press. p. 88. ISBN 0-252-06366-X.  Accessed via Google Print. ^ Vaidhyanathan, Siva (April 1, 2003). Copyrights and Copywrongs: The Rise of Intellectual Property and How It Threatens Creativity. New York University Press. p. 88. ISBN 0-8147-8807-6.  Accessed via Google Print. ^ SilentEra entry ^ Alleman, Richard (1988), The Movie Lover's Guide to New York, New York: Harper & Row, ISBN 0060960809 , p.147-48 ^ Griffith, Richard; Arthur Mayer and Eileen Bowser, The Movies, Simon & Schuster (1981 edition) ^ a b D.W. Griffith Biography ^ © Mary Pickford, Silent Movie Star – goldensilents.com ^ Robertson, Patrick (2001). Film Facts. New York: Billboard Books. p. 21. ISBN 0-8230-7943-0.  Although In Old California was the first movie shot specifically in Hollywood, Biograph had already filmed A Daring Hold-Up in Southern California in Los Angeles in 1906. Niver, Kemp R. (1971). Biograph Bulletins, 1896–1908. Los Angeles: Locare Research Group. p. 262.  The Selig Polyscope Company made pictures in the Los Angeles area in 1908 and 1909, and began construction of a movie studio in Edendale, just east of Hollywood, in 1909. ^ Bowser, Eileen (1990). The Transformation of Cinema 1907–1915. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 253. ISBN 0-520-08534-5.  ^ "Motion Picture Patents Company". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Archived from the original on May 8, 2006. Retrieved 2007-04-13.  ^ "Company Records Series – Motion Picture Patents Company". The Thomas A. Edison Papers. Archived from the original on 25 May 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-13.  ^ Hanson, Patricia King (ed.) (1989). The American Film Institute Catalog of Motion Pictures: Feature Films, 1911–1920. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 0-520-06301-5. CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link) ^ Lauritzen, Einar; Gunnar Lundquist (1984). American Film-Index, 1916–1920: Motion Pictures, January 1916 – December 1920. Distributed by Tonnheims (Huddinge, Sweden). Stockholm, Sweden: Film-Index. ISBN 91-86568-01-9.  ^ Tuska, Jon (1999). The Vanishing Legion: A History of Mascot Pictures, 1927–1935. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company. p. 42. ISBN 0-7864-0749-2.  The last trade of Biograph stock was reported by The New York Times on December 27, 1928, p. 39. The Biograph trademarks were legally abandoned by 1942. 15 USC 1127. The last of the Biograph film copyrights expired in 1945, without any of them having been renewed for a second term. Hurst, Walter E. (1992–1994). Film Superlist: Motion Pictures in the U.S. Public Domain. Hollywood, California: Hollywood Film Archive. ISBN 0-911370-73-0.  ^ "Screen News Here and in Hollywood". The New York Times. September 27, 1939. p. 29.  Empire Trust Company, one of Biograph's creditors, had acquired the Bronx studio but retained Biograph to manage it. Empire Trust later reassigned management to one of its own subsidiaries, The Actinograph Corp., which held it until 1948. R.H. Hammer, Biograph's general manager going back to its Griffith days, donated what remained of Biograph's film collection to the Museum of Modern Art in 1939, around the time Biograph's Bronx studio was closed. Iris Barry, "Why Wait for Posterity?" Hollywood Quarterly, January 1946, pp. 131–137. Reprinted in Hollywood Quarterly: Film Culture in Postwar America, 1945–1957. ^ "Bronx Blaze Damages Old Biograph Studios," The New York Times, July 9, 1980, p. B4. ^ "Sterling Gets Rights to Biograph One-Reelers", Billboard, October 24, 1953, p. 6. ^ "Sterling Earns Killiam Costs", Billboard, January 23, 1954, p. 4. ^ "Movie Museum Racks Big Sales", Billboard, November 13, 1954, p. 7. ^ "Masterpieces of the Early Screen" (advertisement), Billboard, March 26, 1955, p. 10.


External links[edit] Wikimedia Commons has media related to American Mutoscope and Biograph Company. Jennifer M. Wood. "Biograph's Biography". MovieMaker. 10 (Winter 2004).  American Mutoscope Company on IMDbPro (subscription required) American Mutoscope & Biograph on IMDbPro (subscription required) (note: not complete after 1903) Biograph Company on IMDbPro (subscription required) (note: not complete) "Mutoscope and Biograph". The Projection Box.  The Manic Barber from the Southern Methodist University, Central University Libraries, G. William Jones Film and Video Collection Arrival of Emigrants [i.e. Immigrants], Ellis Island by Biograph Company, 1906 Retrieved from "https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Biograph_Company&oldid=813822581" Categories: Biograph Company filmsSilent film studiosDefunct American film studiosDefunct film and television production companies of the United StatesDefunct companies based in New JerseyMedia companies established in 1895Media companies disestablished in 19281895 establishments in New Jersey1928 disestablishments in New JerseyRe-established companiesEntertainment companies based in CaliforniaCompanies based in Los AngelesMedia companies established in 19911991 establishments in CaliforniaAmerican silent films by studioHidden categories: CS1 maint: Extra text: authors listWebarchive template wayback linksPages containing links to subscription-only contentArticles containing video clips


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Motion PicturesWilliam Kennedy DicksonBroadway (Manhattan)13th Street (Manhattan)ManhattanNew York CityUnited StatesNew JerseyUnited StatesEuropeHerman CaslerElias KoopmanD.W. GriffithMary PickfordBlanche SweetLillian GishLionel BarrymoreHenry B. WalthallSilent FilmsFeature FilmWeimar CultureUniversum Film AGSwedenSvensk FilmindustriFrench Third RepublicPathéD. W. GriffithMary PickfordLillian GishLionel BarrymoreEnlargeWilliam Kennedy DicksonThomas A. EdisonWilliam Kennedy DicksonThomas EdisonHerman CaslerElias KoopmanNew JerseyMutoscopeKinetoscopeEnlargeFilm StillNudity In FilmMotion PictureHollywoodMotion Picture Production CodeFilm Censorship In The United States35 Mm FilmDocumentary FilmEmpire State ExpressBiograph StudiosEdison's Black MariaBroadway (Manhattan)ManhattanBroadway (Manhattan)13th Street (Manhattan)ManhattanThomas EdisonEdison's Black MariaWest Orange, NJ14th Street (Manhattan)Union Square (New York City)BronxEnlargeD.W. GriffithEYE Film Institute NetherlandsFilm DirectorD. W. GriffithCross-cuttingFlashback (literary Technique)Fade (lighting)GenresMary PickfordLionel BarrymoreLillian GishDorothy GishRobert HarronFlorence AuerRobert G. VignolaAlan Hale, Sr.Blanche SweetHarry Carey (actor)Mabel NormandHenry B. WalthallMae MarshDorothy DavenportMack SennettRamona (1910 Film)West Coast Of The United StatesLos Angeles Convention CenterHollywoodIn Old California (1910 Film)Judith Of BethuliaFeature FilmBilly BitzerProfit-sharingMotion Picture Patents CompanyEssanay StudiosKalem CompanyGeorge KleineLubin StudiosGeorges MélièsPathéSelig Polyscope CompanyVitagraph StudiosUnited States Antitrust LawKlaw & ErlangerStar System (film)EnlargeHerbert YatesBiograph StudiosBronxConsolidated Film IndustriesIris BarryMuseum Of Modern ArtLime Kiln Field DayAfrican AmericanGeorge Eastman HouseList Of Biograph Films Released In 1909List Of Biograph Films Released In 1910Portal:CompaniesBiograph StudiosBiograph TheaterCinema Of The United StatesHistory Of CinemaList Of Film FormatsList Of Hollywood Movie StudiosInternational Standard Book NumberSpecial:BookSources/0-8108-3021-3Category:CS1 Maint: Extra Text: Authors ListInternational Standard Book NumberSpecial:BookSources/91-7410-001-7Wayback MachineLanham, MarylandScarecrow PressInternational Standard Book NumberSpecial:BookSources/0-8108-3426-XBerkeley, CaliforniaUniversity Of CaliforniaInternational Standard Book NumberSpecial:BookSources/0-520-08533-7Rutgers UniversityInternational Standard Book NumberSpecial:BookSources/0-252-06366-XNew York University PressInternational Standard Book NumberSpecial:BookSources/0-8147-8807-6Google PrintInternational Standard Book NumberSpecial:BookSources/0060960809Simon & SchusterBillboard (magazine)International Standard Book NumberSpecial:BookSources/0-8230-7943-0Selig Polyscope CompanyEcho Park, Los Angeles, CaliforniaUniversity Of California PressInternational Standard Book NumberSpecial:BookSources/0-520-08534-5Encyclopædia BritannicaAmerican Film InstituteInternational Standard Book NumberSpecial:BookSources/0-520-06301-5Category:CS1 Maint: Extra Text: Authors ListInternational Standard Book NumberSpecial:BookSources/91-86568-01-9Jefferson, North CarolinaInternational Standard Book NumberSpecial:BookSources/0-7864-0749-2The New York TimesHollywood, CaliforniaInternational Standard Book NumberSpecial:BookSources/0-911370-73-0Museum Of Modern ArtIMDbIMDbIMDbHelp:CategoryCategory:Biograph Company FilmsCategory:Silent Film StudiosCategory:Defunct American Film StudiosCategory:Defunct Film And Television Production Companies Of The United StatesCategory:Defunct Companies Based In New JerseyCategory:Media Companies Established In 1895Category:Media Companies Disestablished In 1928Category:1895 Establishments In New JerseyCategory:1928 Disestablishments In New JerseyCategory:Re-established CompaniesCategory:Entertainment Companies Based In CaliforniaCategory:Companies Based In Los AngelesCategory:Media Companies Established In 1991Category:1991 Establishments In CaliforniaCategory:American Silent Films By StudioCategory:CS1 Maint: Extra Text: Authors ListCategory:Webarchive Template Wayback LinksCategory:Pages Containing Links To Subscription-only ContentCategory:Articles Containing Video ClipsDiscussion About Edits From This IP Address [n]A List Of Edits Made From This IP Address [y]View The Content Page [c]Discussion About The Content Page [t]Edit This Page [e]Visit The Main Page [z]Guides To Browsing WikipediaFeatured Content – The Best Of WikipediaFind Background Information On Current EventsLoad A Random Article [x]Guidance On How To Use And Edit WikipediaFind Out About WikipediaAbout The Project, What You Can Do, Where To Find ThingsA List Of Recent Changes In The Wiki [r]List Of All English Wikipedia Pages Containing Links To This Page [j]Recent Changes In Pages Linked From This Page [k]Upload Files [u]A List Of All Special Pages [q]Wikipedia:AboutWikipedia:General Disclaimer



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