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The Thanhouser Studio and the Birth of American Cinema2014

  • 3.7
A fifty minute documentary recounting the remarkable tale of one of America's pioneering independent motion picture studios during the first decade of the twentieth century. Based in New Rochelle, New York, the studio produced over one thousand films that were seen by audiences around the world. Set against a backdrop of Thomas A. Edison and his Motion Picture Patients Trust companies who dominated the industry, the story plays out in New York, Florida and California. Narrated by grandson Ned Thanhouser, it reconstructs the forgotten history of the studio, its founders, actors, and technicians. The story is told with archival footage and images combined with interviews of internationally recognized film scholars and authors. It is a compelling story of fame and fortune, twisted by the vagaries of fate and ending on a bittersweet note.

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1 member likes this review

This short doc is key to understanding the motion picture industry in those early, highly influential days. To produce so many film so quickly, to overcome so many obstacles; patents and licenses and a rapidly sophisticating society, technology, disaster, and business management, all to learn and appreciate why the industry moved west. Thanhouser was a trailblazer and a true independent spirit and I can draw immediate correlations to their spirit and several like minded companies and individuals in the business today. I wonder if they are aware of the influence Thanhouser has had on them, if it's too subtle. Or, maybe they admire and appreciate the philosophy and are aspiring to it.

Member Reviews (6)

This short doc is key to understanding the motion picture industry in those early, highly influential days. To produce so many film so quickly, to overcome so many obstacles; patents and licenses and a rapidly sophisticating society, technology, disaster, and business management, all to learn and appreciate why the industry moved west. Thanhouser was a trailblazer and a true independent spirit and I can draw immediate correlations to their spirit and several like minded companies and individuals in the business today. I wonder if they are aware of the influence Thanhouser has had on them, if it's too subtle. Or, maybe they admire and appreciate the philosophy and are aspiring to it.

1 member likes this review

I can't believe this , i am a film student and i was never made aware of this studio. I guess film history is a history indeed.

1 member likes this review

Excellent

The early days of the film industry continue to surprise. This illuminating recollection of the independent Thanhouser Studio located in New Rochelle, NY in the first and second decades of the 20th century offers a fascinating reminder of a largely forgotten chapter of film history. The fact that it was produced by Thanhouser family members gives the film an added piquancy.

Moderately interesting.

Very interesting from a film buff perspective.