mardi 7 octobre 2008

Alice Guy Blache Solax Studios

Solax Studios
From Wik the free encyclopedia

Solax Studios was an American motion picture studio founded in 1910 by executives from the Gaumont Film Company of France. Alice Guy-Blaché, her husband Herbert, and a third partner, George A. Magie established The Solax Company. Alice Guy-Blaché was artistic director and the director for many of its films, while her husband Herbert Blaché managed production for the new company. They built the first studio in Flushing, New York but, as Solax prospered they invested more than $100,000 in a modern production plant in 1912 in Fort Lee, New Jersey, a place that was quickly becoming the film capital of America and home to many major film studios.

This was a time when the American film industry was rapidly changing from little more than a scientific curiosity to an important sector of the economic engine driving the economy. In this environment, Solax studios was conceived as an all-in-one operation with its own film processing laboratory and state of the art stages built under a glass roof. In addition to the administrative offices, the production facilities included dressing rooms, a set fabrication workshop, and a costume design department with sewing room.

In 1912, Solax Studios made a short film titled A Fool And His Money that was directed by Alice Guy-Blaché. It is believed to be the first film ever made with a cast comprising only African-American actors. The film is now at the National Center for Film and Video Preservation at the American Film Institute. The new Metro Pictures, (now MGM), began its business life in 1916 primarily as a distributor of successful Solax films. Several emerging stars appeared in Solax films including John and Ethel Barrymore, Claire Whitney, Olga Petrova, and Billy Quirk.

In between their own productions, the Blachés leased the studios to other production companies such as Goldwyn Picture Corporation and Selznick Picture Corp. However, Solax and the rest of the East Coast film industry rapidly declined throughout the 1920s as a result of the phenomenal growth of motion picture facilities in Hollywood, California that offered lower costs and a climate that accommodated year-round filming. [1]


Alice Guy Blache Solax Studios

Algie, the Miner (1912) Alice Guy

Algie Allmore has a year to prove himself a man, and if he does so he can have the hand of the daughter of Harry Lyons in marriage. So reads the note, signed by Harry Lyons himself, so it should be a pretty easy task. Well, Harry's daughter is actually pretty safe, because Algie is what was known at the time as a pansy. There are plenty of other descriptions you could come up with too, especially as it takes him about ten seconds after climbing off the train on the ride west to kiss no less than two much bigger and much tougher westerners.

director, uncredited of course for 1912, was a woman, Alice Guy. There's some attraction between men and lesbians on the one side, and women and gay men on the other, that must have something to do with a lack of feeling threatened, because it's pervasive. There has to be some reason why slash fiction, or gay fan fiction, is apparently written primarily by women, while the heterosexual guys fantasise about lesbians.

As for the film, it's short and doesn't have a lot going on, but it's not that bad at all. It starts, it continues, it finishes, all logically and with a consistent linear structure. It's not much of a story but it is a story, and that's more than I can say for a good deal of the rest of the films I've seen from this early on in Hollywood's history.