Review: “The Thanhouser Studio and the Birth of American Cinema” Documentary

Silent-ology

If you’re a casual silent film fan, you’ve probably heard of early movie studios like Edison, Biograph, and Vitagraph. One you might be less familiar with–but which was just as important to film–was the Thanhouser Company.

Active from 1909 to 1917, the Thanhouser Company produced around 1,000 films in that mere 9-year period and was one of the most respected studios in the business. After it folded it fell into obscurity and its films were soon forgotten. In 2014 the story of this fine company was finally given its due in The Thanhouser Studio and the Birth of American Cinema, a documentary produced by Ned Thanhouser, grandson of the studio’s founders.

Ned had once believed that his grandparent’s films were all lost–until he saw a short clip from one in a TV show about the silent era. This sparked a desire to find more. He’s been tirelessly researching his…

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