Where are the Missing Films of Alice Guy Blache?

Alice Guy-Blache was the first female film director and producer, making over 1,000 films. But fewer than 200 original films have been found, making any that emerge rare and valuable.

From humble beginnings as a stenographer for a film company, Alice Guy Blache directed, produced or supervised 1000 mostly short, silent films by 1920s. However, fewer than 200 have been found from this pioneer of the motion picture industry and the first female film director.

alice guy blache brick at north lake college station

Because old films are combustible, very few pictures made before World War I have survived, and they are expensive to conserve and convert. But later historians also did a disservice to Guy-Blaché by attributing her work to her male assistants, or even to her husband. (3)

Around the year 2000 only 40 of her films had been found. Today 130 works have been identified in archives internationally. The recovery of Alice Guy Blaché’s work—both its identification as hers and its conservation and restoration—has involved an enormous worldwide undertaking by film historians, archivists, and preservationists.(4)

What is the Value of an Alice Guy Blache Film?

With so few remaining films, the value of a newly discovered short film by Guy-Blache could be considerable. Do you have Alice Guy Blache films or memorabilia, or other rare and vintage movie and entertainment memorabilia? Contact the experts at Heritage Auctions for a free appraisal of entertainment memorabilia.

Who Was the First Female Film Director?

Alice Guy-Blaché was a French pioneer filmmaker, active from the late 19th century, and one of the very first to make a narrative fiction film. She was the first female to direct a film. From 1896 to 1906, she was probably the only female filmmaker in the world. (1. Wikipedia)

Guy-Blaché, a native of France, was the first female director in film history. She wrote, produced or directed at least 1,000 films before the 1920s, outpacing Edison along with her French peers, the Lumières and Georges Méliès (“A Trip to the Moon”). Where others saw moving images, she created stories. (2)

alice guy blache directing a silent short film

How Did Alice Guy Blache Get Started?

At the age of 22 Guy-Blache was working as a secretary in Paris, France for a manufacturer of motion picture cameras that later because a film company. Thinking she could do better than the company’s demonstration films, she asked her boss if she film some scenes. With only a cameraman and amateur acting experience, she made her first short film, “La Fée aux Choux” (“The Cabbage Fairy”) in 1896. Before long she was in charge of film production at the company, making hundreds of films.

In 1907 she married and moved to the United States. Within a few years she started a family and her own film production company in Fort Lee, NJ. Her films featured strong female lead roles before women had the right to vote.

Considered a pioneer of the new film industry, she was among the first filmmakers to use close-ups, hand-tinted color, and synchronized sound.

How Many Films Did Alice Guy Blache Make?

Alice Guy-Blaché, who ran Solax Studio in Fort Lee, wrote or made at least 1,000 films by 1920. Fewer than 200 have been found. (2)

What is the New Movie about Alice Guy-Blache?

“Be Natural” was the advice Guy Blache gave her actors. “Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blache” is the name of a new documentary film by Pamela Green and narrated by Jodie Foster. The film debuted in 2018 at the Cannes Film Festival. Watch the trailer for the new Alice Guy-Blache documentary film.

When Did Alice Guy Blache Die?

Alice Guy-Blache died on March, 24, 1968, in a nursing home in New Jersey.

Sources:

  1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alice_Guy-Blach%C3%A9
  2. https://www.nj.com/entertainment/2019/04/alice-guy-blache-was-the-first-female-movie-mogul-and-ran-a-nj-studio-why-was-she-forgotten.html
  3. https://news.artnet.com/art-world/alice-guy-blache-pioneering-female-filmmaker-1629004
  4. http://artdaily.com/news/33645/Alice-Guy-Blach–Retrospective-at-the-Whitney-will-Rediscover-an-Early-Force-in-Film#.XXfPoChKiM8

Posted by Tod Lock

Tod Lock does search engine optimization (SEO) for Heritage Auctions.

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