by Rosalie Kicks!
Old Sport at Moviejawn
If Lois Weber was alive today she would sport a jacket that would be adorned with a royal blue “I am #1” ribbon, always and forever. Despite her being the FIRST to accomplish so many incredible cinematic feats, no one has heard of her. I became acquainted with Lois Weber after my mother in-law purchased the feature length film, The Blot, as a birthday present for me. This film led me down a rabbit hole of obsession.
Lois Weber was the FIRST female to make a feature length film and her resume doesn’t stop there. Accomplishments include: silent film star, screenwriter, producer, director, and the FIRST woman to own/operate her own movie studio. Lois Weber was one Bad A$$ Mother F*CKER..
Weber is considered one of the FIRST genuine female auteurs. She used cinema to unleash her ideas, thoughts, and philosophy on the world. It was estimated that Lois Weber was part of making over 200 films; unfortunately, only about 20 of them are available today. Much of her work focused on social justice/humanity issues. This led her to be one of the FIRST filmmakers to come to the attention of the censor board. Despite studio interference, she constantly fought to have her voice heard.
Few men were able to retain such absolute control of their films as Weber did. She resisted the industry’s movement toward assembly line studio filmmaking and had no fear going up against the censor board to ensure no one affected the vision of her film. This was especially the case, during the release of her 1915 film Hypocrites. This film came under fire, since it was the FIRST film to show a full frontal nude female. Weber stated, "I’ll never be convinced that the general public does not want serious entertainment rather than frivolous. A real director should be absolute. She alone knows the effects she wants to produce, and she alone should have authority in the arrangement, cutting, titling or anything else that may seem necessary to do to the finished product. What other artist has his work interfered with by someone else? We ought to realize that the work of a picture director, worthy of a name, is creative."
As a filmmaker she pioneered many techniques still used today and was one of the FIRST to make use of split screen which can be found in her 1913 film, Suspense. Many of her films were known for their extraordinary editing and use of experimental methods. She also was one of the FIRST to experiment with sound. Much of this led her to be known as one of the top silent film directors of that time.
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