Before Hollywood, There Was Fort Lee, N.J. (1964)
40min · Documentary, Short · 1 January 1964
When Hollywood was mostly orange groves, Fort Lee, New Jersey was a center of American film production: D. W. Griffith made many one-reel Biograph dramas, Mack Sennett appeared in his first film, Pearl White endured the Perils of Pauline, and Mary Pickford and Theda Bara starred in early features. By the mid-teens, a dozen major movie studios were operating across the Hudson River from Manhattan's Washington Heights. Using rare photographs, almost-complete versions of such films as Edison's "Rescued from an Eagle's Nest" and Biograph's "The Curtain Pole," and poignant footage from 1935 of the great glass studios in ruins, this comprehensive collection also features D. W. Griffith's "The New York Hat," featuring Mary Pickford and Lionel Barrymore. Maurice Tourneur is represented by the once-lost 1917 feature "A Girl's Folly," in a half-hour abridgement with views of the glass stages, rotating sets, tank for water effects, projection room, and crews at work, and his enchanting hour-long 1914 feature, "The Wishing Ring," taken in the village environs as well as in the Paragon Studio.
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