Alice Guy: Overlooked No More

Manohla Dargis of the New York Times has published an obituary of Alice Guy for the Overlooked Series. Overlooked is a series of obituaries about remarkable people whose deaths, beginning in 1851, went unreported in The Times.Here's how it starts:

Alice Guy
Alice Guy

Overlooked No More: Alice Guy Blaché, the World’s First Female Filmmaker

Even before women had the right to vote, Blaché, in her actions and in her films, expressed female drives, desires and self-determination.


In 1911, The Moving Picture News wrote that Alice Guy Blaché, the first female filmmaker in history, was a “fine example of what a woman can do if given a square chance in life.”

Blaché had already founded a successful film company in the United States by the time the article was published, announcing a new studio she was opening in New Jersey. She soon built that studio, adding to her triumphs. Cinema was Blaché’s passion — she called it her Prince Charming — and it took her across continents and centuries in a life shaped both by soaring achievements and by some of the same struggles that women moviemakers face today.

She was aware of her singularity.

“I have produced some of the biggest productions ever released by a motion picture company,” Blaché told the entertainment weekly The New York Clipper in 1912.

She made — directed, produced or supervised (often doing triple duty) — about 1,000 films, many of them short, the standard at the time.

She would later leave the industry at a time when her life was marred by personal and professional disappointments, then spend years trying to claim her place in the very history that she had helped make.

You can read the rest of the article here.

The same article was reprinted by the Independent in the UK, with more images.

A key quote from Alice Guy: 

Blache told The Clipper in 1912: “I have always impressed upon my associate directors that success comes only to those who give the public what it wants, plus something else. That something else I would call our individuality, if you please.”