The Musketeers of Pig Alley
|The Musketeers of Pig Alley|
|Directed by||D. W. Griffith|
|Written by||D. W. Griffith
Clara T. Bracy
|Music by||Robert Israel|
|Distributed by||General Film Company|
|17 minutes (16 frames per second)|
The Musketeers of Pig Alley is a 1912 American short drama film credited as the first gangster film in history. It is directed by D. W. Griffith and written by Griffith and Anita Loos. It is also credited for its early use of follow focus, a fundamental tool in cinematography.
The film was released on October 31, 1912 and re-released on November 5, 1915 in the United States. The film was shot in Fort Lee, New Jersey where many other early film studios in America's first motion picture industry were based at the beginning of the 20th century. Location shots in New York City reportedly used actual street gang members as extras during the film.
The film is about a poor married couple living in New York City. The husband works as a musician and must often travel for work. When returning, his wallet is taken by a gangster. His wife goes to a ball where a man tries to drug her, but his attempt is stopped by the same man who robbed the husband. The two criminals become rivals, and a shootout ensues. The husband gets caught in the shootout and recognizes one of the men as the gangster who took his money. The husband sneaks his wallet back and the gangster goes to safety in the couple's apartment. Policemen track the gangster down but the wife gives him a false alibi.
- Elmer Booth – Snapper Kid, Musketeers gang leader
- Lillian Gish – The Little Lady
- Clara T. Bracy – The Little Lady's Mother
- Walter Miller – The Musician
- Alfred Paget – Rival Gang Leader
- John T. Dillon – Policeman
- Madge Kirby – The Little Lady's Friend/In Alley
- Harry Carey – Snapper's Sidekick
- Robert Harron – Rival Gang Member/In Alley/At Gangster's Ball
- W. C. Robinson – Rival Gang Member (as Spike Robinson)
- Adolph Lestina – The Bartender/On Street
- Jack Pickford – Boy Gang Member/At Dance Ball
- Antonio Moreno – Young Man at Dance Ball who Leaves
The Musketeers of Pig Alley is probably the first ever film about organised crime.
In his book The Movie Stars, film historian Richard Griffith wrote of the scene where Lillian Gish passes another woman on the street (pictured):
Griffith's camera in this scene happened to focus on the unforgettable face of the nameless girl
in the center of the shot- and a murmurous wave swept audiences at this point in the film whenever it was shown. No one knows what became of this particular extra, but such raw material, and such camera accidents, became the stuff of stardom later on."
In fact, the girl is Dorothy Gish, Lillian's sister.
In the Cold Case episode Torn (Season 4.21) Lily sees the victim of a 1919 homicide in an homage to the scene of Lillian Gish passing another woman on the street (pictured).
- Lionel Barrymore filmography
- Harry Carey filmography
- Lillian Gish filmography
- D. W. Griffith filmography
- Koszarski, Richard (2004), Fort Lee: The Film Town, Rome, Italy: John Libbey Publishing -CIC srl, ISBN 0-86196-653-8
- "Studios and Films". Fort Lee Film Commission. Retrieved 2011-05-30.
- Fort Lee Film Commission (2006), Fort Lee Birthplace of the Motion Picture Industry, Arcadia Publishing, ISBN 0-7385-4501-5
- The Movie Stars Richard Griffith Doubleday and Company Inc. 72-126382 Copyright 1970
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to The Musketeers of Pig Alley.|
- The Musketeers of Pig Alley at the Internet Movie Database
- The Musketeers of Pig Alley on YouTube
- The Musketeers of Pig Alley available for free download at Internet Archive