Volume II: Filmography


Thanhouser Filmography - 1912



At the end of 1911 and early in 1912 Thanhouser's key personalities were: directors: Lucius Henderson and George O. Nichols (also spelled Nicholls); stage managers: John W. ("Jack") Noble (who departed in February and was replaced by Carl LeViness) and Calvin Dix; cameramen: Carl Louis Gregory and A.H. Moses, Jr.; players: Viola Alberti, Mignon Anderson, Justus D. Barnes, Harry Benham, James Cruze, Marie Eline (the Thanhouser Kid), Joseph Graybill, Florence LaBadie, Inda Palmer, William Russell, Marguerite Snow, and David H. Thompson; scenario writer: Lloyd F. Lonergan.

Florida Company: In early January 1912 a company of Thanhouser players, including Florence LaBadie, Marguerite Snow, Viola Alberti, James Cruze, William Russell, Joseph Graybill, Violet Gooding, Lucy Tanguay, Helena Whiteley, Edward Norton, Frederick Doering, and Frank O'Neill, went to Jacksonville, Florida on the Apache, a Clyde Line steamer. Also in the party were Lloyd F. Lonergan (scenario writer), Calvin Dix (stage manager), A.H. Moses (cameraman), and George O. Nichols (director). A number of films were made, primarily in and around St. Augustine.

New Rochelle Company: Staying home were most of the Thanhouser players, including Harry Benham, Ethyle Cooke, Mignon Anderson, Inda Palmer, Marie Eline, Justus D. Barnes, David H. Thompson, and others. Lucius Henderson directed the films made in New Rochelle early in 1912, while Jack Noble served as stage manager, and Carl Louis Gregory was cameraman.


Reviews and Synopses

The Billboard in 1912 carried synopses of films as provided by Thanhouser, but no reviews were published.

The Bioscope, published in England, carried numerous synopses of Thanhouser films, usually adapted from the synopses issued by the company. In numerous instances, the synopses are paraphrased and are considerably shorter. Thanhouser films were released in England through the Western Import Co., Ltd.

The Morning Telegraph: This New York City newspaper printed extremely insightful reviews, with detailed commentaries in many instances concerning the direction, acting, and scenarios. Here is one of the most important contemporary sources of perceptive film criticism.

The Motion Picture Story Magazine made its debut in 1911. Later, this monthly periodical, which was to change its name in March 1914 to The Motion Picture Magazine, printed much information concerning Thanhouser players and stories of the films, but in 1911, the publication was devoted nearly entirely to Licensed film manufacturers, and Independents such as Thanhouser were rarely mentioned. No Thanhouser reviews, film stories, or player biographies were printed in 1911. In 1912 this policy changed. The magazine printed much information in its inquiries column, but the "Answer Man" often derived his identification of cast members from hearsay or guesswork, and many errors found their way into print. The monthly magazine was particularly valuable for the enthusiasm it generated among movie fans, and it is probably accurate to say that it was responsible in no little part for the rise of the "star system" a year or two later.

The Moving Picture News, which was to later change its name to The Motion Picture News, was issued in New York City by the Cinematograph Publishing Company and was intended for motion picture exhibitors. In 1912 it emphasized news of the Independent companies, which provided the bulk of its advertising revenue, although, in contrast to former years, more information and advertisements concerning Licensed companies appeared as well. The Moving Picture News was well written, with fewer errors than its main competitor, The Moving Picture World, and provided interesting information, albeit based upon official releases, of Thanhouser and its films. The plot synopses, furnished by Thanhouser, were often more detailed than those in The Moving Picture World. The publication was not able to match the advertising revenue attracted by its much larger competitor, The Moving Picture World, and it had less room for editorial matter. Reviews of Thanhouser films tended to be brief, often just a sentence or two, of a generally complimentary nature, and without specific mention of flaws or problems.

The Moving Picture World, issued by the Chalmers Publishing Company, New York, printed the same official synopses found in The Moving Picture News, although these were often slightly edited for brevity. The "Comments on the Films" column reviewed Licensed and Independent films, but its reviews were for the most part quite gentle. If a film was criticized, it was virtually a sure thing that something good also was found to say about it in the same issue, and the next Thanhouser film reviewed would be highly praised. However, reviews were more critical in 1912 than they had been in the same publication in 1911. The Moving Picture World was a trade magazine which did its best to promote motion pictures, and very little criticism was made of any major film producer. Such producers were also advertisers.

The New York Dramatic Mirror was the only trade magazine with "strong" reviews of Thanhouser films in 1912, although the New York Morning Telegraph newspaper took the lead in detailed criticism. Thanhouser was a regular advertiser in that periodical; however, unlike the situation with most of its competitors, this did not seem to affect the editorial prerogative to criticize. The editorial thrust of the magazine was in any event toward Licensed firms, although by the end of 1912 an increasing amount of Independent news was carried. At the time, the star of the Independents was in the ascendancy in the motion picture field, and the Licensed firms, beset by adverse court decisions and by competition from the increasingly excellent products of the Independents, were on the decline. It seems that reviewers for this periodical paid closer attention to watching the films, and relied less on manufacturers' synopses, than did other publications of the time. Reviewers signed their opinions with initials, such as A, C, D, and G, with reviewer "C" identifying players by name more often than the others.


Copyright © 1995 Q. David Bowers. All Rights Reserved.