In Memory of MARGERY WILSON (1896-1986)
In 1895 Leon Gaumont founded the Gaumont Company and employed his secretary Alice Guy, as his first director. It was from this time that the motion picture industry embraced the concept of women as film makers. For the remainder of the silent years more than thirty women directors worked in the American Film Industry: This is their story.
000:41 THE SILENT FEMINISTS - America’s First Women Directors.
By the beginning of the 20th century, women began abandoning their traditional place in the home to become secretaries, telephone operators, teachers and even factory workers. Alice Guy’s daughter speaks of her mother’s involvement in the film industry. For Alice Guy, directing ‘La Fee Aux Choux 1896’ was followed by over 400 films by 1908. This was an astonishing number for any director of that period. Most were distributed throughout the world and included over 100 sound subjects.
Daughter Simone Blache, claims that her mother was extremely French and could not speak a word of English when she settled in America. Alice Guy Blache, later founded the Solax Company with her husband Herbert Blache, directing or supervising more than 300 films on every conceivable subject including fairy tales, melo-dramas and comedy.
Her ambitious husband Herbert Blache always tried to promote himself over his wife and in 1920 her career as a director ended. Alice Guy Blache returned to France with her daughter Simone but in later years returned to New Jersey where she died in 1968.
Alice Guy paved the way for many other women in the film industry.