George Kleine

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George Kleine ca. 1914

George Kleine (1864 - 8 June 1931) was an American film producer and cinema pioneer.


His father Charles was a New York optician who sold optical devices and stereopticons.[1] George joined the family firm and in 1893 moved to Chicago and set up the Kleine Optical Company. In 1896, the company started selling film-making equipment and in 1899, the company obtained an exclusive arrangement with Thomas Edison to sell his film and equipment in the Chicago area.[1]

In 1903, he started distributing Biograph films as well as European films and was one of the first to start renting films out to theatres. He became involved in patent disputes with Edison in 1908, causing members of the industry to establish the Motion Picture Patents Company. He founded Kalem Company, an American film studio in New York City in 1907 with Samuel Long,[2] and Frank J. Marion. The company was named for their initials, K, L, and M. Kleine was involved in the company only a short time but it was a profitable investment for him as his partners were soon successful enough to buy out his shares at a considerable premium.

Kleine was a national distributor of silent movies in the 1910s, a notable example being Essanay Studios 1918 film Men Who Have Made Love to Me starring Mary MacLane.

Kleine retired in 1928[1] and died in Los Angeles, California, in 1931.

His papers are retained by the Library of Congress.[3]


  1. ^ a b c Who's Who in Victorian Cinema
  2. ^ "Samuel Long Dead. President of Kalem Company Entered Film Business 18 Years Ago". New York Times. July 29, 1915.
  3. ^

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