A Tale of Two Cities

The Classics

Part of Making Movies in New York: 1911
Saturday, June 4, 2011, 6:00 p.m.

Live music by Donald Sosin

As film technique grew increasingly sophisticated, two local studios, Vitagraph and Thanhouser, attempted to silence the industry’s critics by putting the work of the masters on nickelodeon screens. (Program approximately 80 mins.)

Lady Godiva
Dir. Charles Kent. 35mm print courtesy of Library of Congress. Vitagraph Studio. With Julia Swayne Gordon, Robert Gaillard, and Kate Price. Based on a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson. Because she “loathed to see them taxed,” Lady Godiva gives her all for her subjects.

Pillars of Society
35mm print courtesy of George Eastman House. Thanhouser Studio. With Martin Faust and Julia M. Taylor. Based on a play by Henrik Ibsen. In a series of groundbreaking theatrical adaptations, New Rochelle’s Thanhouser was the first studio to bring the work of Henrik Ibsen to the screen.

16mm print courtesy of Library of Congress. Thanhouser Studio. With William Russell and Marguerite Snow. Based on a poem by Sir Walter Scott. The “gallant young Lochinvar” and his stolen bride lead their pursuers on a merry chase.

A Tale of Two Cities
Dir. William Humphrey. 30 mins. 35mm print courtesy of UCLA Film & TV Archive. Vitagraph Studio. With Maurice Costello, Florence Turner, and John Bunny. Based on the novel by Charles Dickens. Recently restored by UCLA, this three-reel Dickens adaptation was one of the longest and most elaborate films produced in America.

Free with Museum admission.

Download the program notes