World Film Company

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The World Film Company or World Film Corporation was an American film production and distribution company, organized in 1914 in Fort Lee, New Jersey.

Formation[edit]

Short-lived but significant in American film history, World Film was created by financier and filmmaker Lewis J. Selznick in Fort Lee, where many early film studios in America's first motion picture industry were based in the early part of the 20th century.[1][2][3] World Film was to be the distribution arm for three main production companies: Selznick's own production company called Equitable Pictures, Jules Brulatour's Peerless Pictures, and the Shubert Pictures production company founded by the strong-willed promoter and entrepreneur William Aloysius Brady.

Under this arrangement World Film was the distributor for some 380 short films and features from 1914 through 1921. It also became a production company, with filming centered at Brulatour's Peerless Studio facilities, and run by Brady. The Schuberts intended to use their own chain of vaudeville and legitimate theaters as film venues. [4] In the period between 1912 and 1915, all of the five most important film production companies in the U.S. had similar ties to theatrical entrepreneurs, all hoping to leverage their theater chains: Famous Players Film Company, Klaw & Erlanger's "Protective Amusement Company", the Jesse L. Lasky Company, the Triangle Film Corporation, and World Film. [5]

By 1916, Selznick was ousted from World Film by its board. Chicago investor Arthur Spiegel was put in charge as president. Production remained at Fort Lee until 1919, when the company was re-purchased by Selznick and absorbed into his Lewis J. Selznick Productions, based on the west coast.

Talent[edit]

World Film was distinguished by its concentration of talent.

The outbreak of World War I drove a re-organization of foreign film-industry assets in Fort Lee, including the employees. Within World Film a number of French directors and cinematographers organized themselves in a separate French-speaking unit, with its own sensibility. For about three years Maurice Tourneur, Léonce Perret, George Archainbaud, Emile Chautard, Albert Capellani and Lucien Andriot, among others, worked together on films such as the 1915 version of Camille, and taught a young apprentice film cutter at the World studio: Josef von Sternberg. [6]

Others were also hired into World Film: actress Clara Kimball Young hired away from Vitagraph, Sidney Olcott hired away from Kalem Studios, screenwriter Frances Marion, actress Elaine Hammerstein, and vaudeville star Lew Fields.

Partial filmography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Koszarski, Richard (2004), Fort Lee: The Film Town, Rome, Italy: John Libbey Publishing -CIC srl, ISBN 0-86196-653-8 
  2. ^ "Studios and Films". Fort Lee Film Commission. Retrieved 2011-05-30. 
  3. ^ Fort Lee Film Commission (2006), Fort Lee Birthplace of the Motion Picture Industry, Arcadia Publishing, ISBN 0-7385-4501-5 
  4. ^ The American theatrical film: stages in development, by John C. Tibbetts, page 85
  5. ^ The American theatrical film: stages in development, by John C. Tibbetts, page 64
  6. ^ Von Sternberg, by John Baxter, pages 21-22