With all the #MeToo movement, I’m glad these women finally standing up and getting their due in Hollywood. I’ve been in the “Biz” for so long and I seen the the dirty stuff they do in these casting couches. Damn Pedos deserve what they getting. With the shutdown in government in place, all hell breaking loose at the moment.
Well as my favorite Game of Thrones character would say: “Chaos is a ladder.”
So hopefully things turn out alright. It almost always does. I guess that’s my Hollywood good guy side.
With that said, I thought I’d do my part and highlight one of my favorite directors (regardless of race or color) – Alice Blach.
Born in Paris, Alice Guy lived in Switzerland with grandmother while her family worked in Chile at her father’s bookstore chains. When her family returned from Chile, her father and brother died shortly afterward.
When she was 21, Guy worked for Léon Gaumont as a secretary. Gaumont did still photography until his business went under. He began the Gaumont Film Company and Guy joined as head of production at a time when women did not work in the film industry.
In this capacity, Guy is credited for the development of narrative filmmaking as well as using special effects such as double exposure and running a film backwards. She also used recordings to accompany films and color special effects before the advent of color film (“The Spring Fairy” 1906).
Alice married Herbert Blaché in 1907 when he was appointed production manager for Gaumont’s United States operations. The couple moved to New York City to work for the U.S. Gaumont branch.
Three years later Blaché and her husband formed their own studio, Solax, with Alice Blaché as artistic director. One of their American films “A Fool and His Money (1912) is credited as being the first film to use an all African-American cast.
At that time, Fort Lee, New Jersey was quickly becoming the film capital of the United States. With the success of Solax, Blaché and her husband moved to Fort Lee in a larger studio. Blaché began writing articles about filmmaking and taught film courses at Columbia University.
However, after World War I, the film industry began to change. Studios started moving to the west coast, mostly to Hollywood, which had better weather conditions. It also got them away from Thomas Edison who was attempting to control the film industry.
The Blaché’s began to experience difficulties of their own, both financial and personal and were divorced in 1922.
Although Blaché had worked many years in the film industry and wrote, produced and directed nearly 700 films, she had difficulty getting work on her own, both in the U.S. and in France where she returned hoping to find work. She could not take any of her films with her and her work at Gaumont was no longer available.
She even spent hours researching her own work in the Library of Congress only to find just a few early one-reeler prints as proof of her accomplishments in the film industry.
Blaché then went on the lecture circuit and wrote novels from film scripts. The French government awarded her the Legion of Honor, the highest honor in that country, in 1955.
Alice Guy-Blaché died in obscurity in a nursing home in New Jersey, March 24, 1968.
Alice Guy-Blaché has not been completely forgotten. The Fort Lee Film Commission annually presents the “Alice Award” to one Fort Lee High School student studying in the film industry.
The site where Solax Studio used to stand is an historical marker.
“The Lost Garden: The Life and Cinema of Alice Guy-Blaché” was released by the National Film Board of Canada in 1995.
“Alice Guy-Blaché: Lost Visionary of the Cinema, the Memoirs of Alice Guy-Blaché” was published in March 2002 by Continuum.
A little over one hundred of Blaché’s films survive today.