Volume I: Narrative History


Chapter 8: 1915 The Year in Review

In reviewing the year Note John R. Freuler, Mutual's president, stated that there was a new relationship between distributors and exhibitors, by which the exhibitors were receiving not only good pictures but many publicity aids, music cues, and exploitation suggestions. Higher admission prices were a strengthening trend, and many theatres made the transition from the 5 and 10 cent level to the 10, 15, and 25 cent price structure. The true nickelodeon theatre, charging five cents admission, was rapidly becoming a rarity. Better attention by the manufacturers to plots and photography was resulting in better pictures. The public was becoming aware of the evils and perils of censorship, as exemplified by a number of communities where public intelligence overruled the absurdity of censors. Note Many more newspapers and magazines established columns and features about the movies.

By all accounts the sensation of the film world in 1915 was D.W. Griffith's epic film produced in 1914, The Birth of a Nation. Fox, Paramount, Famous Players and other studios, mostly located in California, grabbed the lion's share of publicity during the year. Mary Pickford signed a year's contract for $104,000 with Famous Players, actress Billie Burke was given $40,000 for just five weeks' work before the camera, and Charlie Chaplin went with Essanay for $1,250 per week, the latter figure being 10 times the amount Edwin Thanhouser was paying the typical leading player in New Rochelle.


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