J. Gordon Edwards filmography

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A man in a suit stands between a man and women dressed in costume as figures from the Roman Empire
Jacques Grétillat, J. Gordon Edwards, and Paulette Duval during the production of Nero (1922)

J. Gordon Edwards (1867–1925) was a Canadian American film director, screenwriter, and producer of the silent era. His oeuvre consists of over fifty feature films made between 1914 and 1924.[a] He is perhaps best known for directing twenty-four films starring vamp actress Theda Bara—including Cleopatra, her most famous role—[2] and also the 1921 epic The Queen of Sheba.[3][4] Edwards was born in Montreal and educated at a military academy with the expectation that he would pursue a career as a British Army officer. He decided against a life in the military in favor of a future in theater.[5] At the time, the Canadian theater and film industry was limited primarily to repertory theatre, so Edwards became one of many to emigrate to the United States to work in the field.[6] He had a short career as an actor before becoming a stage director. By 1910, he was working for American motion picture producer William Fox, who sent him to Europe to study film production.[5]

In 1914, the Balboa Amusement Producing Company produced the drama St. Elmo. Balboa was not a film distributor, and had a standing agreement to sell its films to Fox's Box Office Attractions Company for distribution.[7][8] Some modern writers credit this film as Edwards's directorial debut.[4][9][10] However, contemporary sources named Bertram Bracken in that role,[11][12] as does the American Film Institute.[13] Aubrey Solomon's history of the Fox Film Corporation states Bracken "reportedly" directed.[14] Regardless of Edwards's role in St. Elmo, he was chosen to direct Life's Shop Window (1914), Box Office Attractions' first film as a production company rather than merely a distributor.[15]

The following year, the Box Office Attractions name was replaced with the newly incorporated Fox Film Corporation.[8] Edwards remained one of the studio's most important directors and one of William Fox's closest advisers.[16] He became known for his epic filmmaking and for a permissive approach to directing his starring cast, an attitude that led Bara's biographer to compare him to Alfred Hitchcock.[17] Often, that cast included Bara, whose films with him include Under Two Flags (1916), the epic historical drama Cleopatra (1917), and A Woman There Was (1919).

Despite his influential role in the early days of Fox Films, the financial success of many of his movies, and public recognition of his talent as his director—compared by one contemporary reviewer to D. W. Griffith—Edwards is now mostly forgotten. Nearly all of his work is lost, including all of the titles he was best known for.[18] Film historian Kevin Brownlow described him as a "lost name of film history".[19]

Filmography

J. Gordon Edwards directed all films except where otherwise noted.

Balboa Amusement Producing Company (1914)

Release date Title Based on Notes Ref
August 1914 St. Elmo St. Elmo, novel by Augusta Jane Evans Some sources credit Bertram Bracken as the director. [13]

Box Office Attractions Company (1914)

Release date[b] Title Based on Notes Ref
19 November 1914 Life's Shop Window Life's Shop Window, novel by Victoria Cross First film produced by the Box Office Attractions Company. Premiered 20 October 1914 at the Academy of Music, New York. [20][21][22][23]

Fox Film Corporation (1915–24)

Release date[b] Title Based on Notes Ref
5 April 1915 Anna Karenina Anna Karenina, novel by Leo Tolstoy [24][25]
16 May 1915 A Woman's Resurrection Resurrection, novel by Leo Tolstoy [26][27]
5 July 1915 Should a Mother Tell? Original story by Rex Ingram The working title was A Mother's Love. [26][28]
13 September 1915 The Song of Hate La Tosca, play by Victorien Sardou [26][29]
9 November 1915 Blindness of Devotion Original story by Rex Ingram Edwards was also the scenerist. Film debuts of Robert B. Mantell and Genevieve Hamper. Some sources give the title as The Blindness of Devotion. [30][31]
28 November 1915 The Galley Slave The Galley Slave, play by Bartley Campbell Edwards's first film with Theda Bara. [32][33]
6 December 1915 The Unfaithful Wife Original story by Mary Murillo [32]
2 January 1916 The Green-Eyed Monster Original story by Mary Murillo [32]
27 March 1916 A Wife's Sacrifice Original story by J. Gordon Edwards Edwards was also the scenerist. [34]
28 May 1916 The Spider and the Fly Original story by Franklin B. Coates [35]
31 July 1916 Under Two Flags Under Two Flags, novel by Ouida Reissued 26 January 1919. [36]
11 September 1916 Her Double Life "The New Magdelen", original story by Mary Murillo [37][38]
17 October 1916 A Daughter of the Gods Original story by Herbert Brenon Herbert Brenon directed; Edwards served as production supervisor. First complete nude scene by a major star (Annette Kellerman). Reissued 2 December 1917 (as Daughter of the Gods), August 1918, and 15 February 1920. [39][40][41]
23 October 1916 Romeo and Juliet Romeo and Juliet, play by William Shakespeare [42]
4 December 1916 The Vixen Original story by Mary Murillo Released in the United Kingdom as The Love Pirate [43][44]
22 January 1917 The Darling of Paris The Hunchback of Notre-Dame, novel by Victor Hugo Reissued 16 February 1919 (as The Darlings of Paris) [45]
19 February 1917 The Tiger Woman "Quicksands", original story by Adrian Johnson Released in the United Kingdom as Behind a Throne [44][46][47][48]
2 April 1917 Her Greatest Love Moths, novel by Ouida Released in the United Kingdom as Redemption [44][49][50]
2 April 1917 Tangled Lives The Woman in White, novel by Wilkie Collins [51][52]
20 May 1917 Heart and Soul Jess, novel by H. Rider Haggard Working titles were Jess and The Greater Love. Some sources give 21 May as release date. [51][53]
30 September 1917 Camille The Lady of the Camellias, novel by Alexandre Dumas, fils [54][55]
4 November 1917 The Rose of Blood "The Red Rose", original story by Richard Ordynski [56][57]
30 December 1917 Madame Du Barry Joseph Balsamo, novel by Alexandre Dumas Some sources give the title as Du Barry. [58][59]
3 February 1918 The Forbidden Path "From the Depths", original story by E. Lloyd Sheldon [60][61]
21 April 1918 The Soul of Buddha Original story by Adrian Johnson and Theda Bara. Eve Golden's biography of Bara considers it unlikely she had any part in the screenwriting. [62][63]
9 June 1918 Under the Yoke "Maria, of the Roses", original story by George Scarborough. Spanish Love was a working title. [64][65][66]
12 August 1918 Cleopatra Antony and Cleopatra and Julius Caesar, plays by William Shakespeare; Cléopâtre, play by Victorien Sardou and Émile Moreau Premiered 14 October 1917 at the Lyric Theatre in New York. Reissued 15 February 1920. [67][68][69]
29 September 1918 When a Woman Sins "The Message of the Lillies", original story by Betta Breuil [70][71]
1 December 1918 The She-Devil Original story by George James Hopkins Edwards was also the scenerist. Some sources have the release date as 10 November. [72][73][71][74]
12 January 1919 The Light Original story by Luther Reed and Brett Page [75]
2 February 1919 Salomé Antiquities of the Jews, work by Titus Flavius Josephus Premiered in Seattle on 10 August 1918 and in New York on 6 October 1918. Reissued 15 February 1920 and 14 January 1923. [76][77]
9 March 1919 When Men Desire "The Scarlet Altars", original story by E. Lloyd Sheldon and J. Searle Dawley [78]
4 May 1919 The Siren's Song Original story by Charles Kenyon [79]
1 June 1919 A Woman There Was "Creation's Tears", original story by Neje Hopkins. Bara's biography identifies Neje Hopkins as George James Hopkins. This was Bara's last film with Edwards. [80][81]
29 June 1919 The Lone Star Ranger The Lone Star Ranger, novel by Zane Grey Reissued 18 September 1921. [82][83]
10 August 1919 Wolves of the Night Original story by E. Lloyd Sheldon Reissued 24 August 1924. [84]
12 October 1919 The Last of the Duanes "The Last of the Duanes", short story by Zane Grey [85]
24 November 1919 Wings of the Morning Wings of the Morning, novel by Louis Tracy [86][87]
25 January 1920 Heart Strings Original story by Henry Albert Phillips Some sources have 18 January as the release date. [88][89]
14 March 1920 The Adventurer Original story by E. Lloyd Sheldon Some sources list a release date in February. [90][91]
18 April 1920 The Orphan The Orphan, novel by Clarence E. Mulford Some sources list a release date in May. [92][93]
27 June 1920 The Joyous Troublemaker The Joyous Troublemaker, novel by Jackson Gregory Referred to in some sources as The Joyous Troublemakers, The Joyous Trouble Maker, or The Trouble Makers. [94][95]
22 August 1920 If I Were King If I Were King, novel and play by Justin Huntly McCarthy [96][97]
24 October 1920 Drag Harlan Drag Harlan, novel by Charles Alden Seltzer Reissued 22 February 1925. [98][99]
12 December 1920 The Scuttlers The Scuttlers, novel by Clyde C. Westover Reissued 9 November 1924. [100][101]
17 April 1921 His Greatest Sacrifice Original story by Paul H. Sloane [102]
11 December 1921 The Queen of Sheba Original story by Virginia Tracy Edwards was also the scenerist. Tom Mix supervised the chariot race. Premiered 4 Sep 1921. [103][104][105]
7 September 1922 Nero Original story by Virginia Tracy and Charles Sarver Premiered in New York on 22 May. [106][107]
9 September 1923 The Silent Command Original story by Rufus King Premiered at the Fox Oakland in Oakland, California on 25 August.[108] Released in France as His Country[109] [110]
25 November 1923 The Shepherd King The Shepherd King, play by Wright Lorimer and Arnold Reeves [111][112]
2 December 1923 The Net The Woman's Law, novel by Maravene Thompson [113][114]
31 August 1924 It Is the Law It Is the Law, play by Elmer Rice and Hayden Talbot [115][116]

Notes

  1. ^ In addition to his generally recognized work, the copyright registration for 1915's The Celebrated Scandal states that Edwards "picturized" the film. The American Film Institute's opinion is that Edwards may have worked on an discarded earlier version, but did not contribute to the picture as released.[1]
  2. ^ a b Fox Film's official release dates are shown; in some cases, premieres or special showing preceded this date.

References

  1. ^ "The Celebrated Scandal". Catalogue of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2015-08-24. 
  2. ^ Geczy 2013, p. 151.
  3. ^ Solomon 2011, p. 30.
  4. ^ a b Keister 2011, p. 91.
  5. ^ a b Ramsaye 1964, p. 700.
  6. ^ Morris 1992, p. 28.
  7. ^ Solomon 2011, p. 11.
  8. ^ a b Slide 2001, pp. 26–27.
  9. ^ "St. Elmo [motion picture]". American Silent Feature Film Database. Library of Congress. 2014-03-31. Retrieved 2015-01-09. 
  10. ^ Goble 1999, p. 504.
  11. ^ Justice & Smith 1914, p. 28.
  12. ^ "Bracken Back with Balboa Co.". Billboard. 26 (48): 52. 1914-11-28. 
  13. ^ a b "St. Elmo". Catalogue of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2015-03-17. 
  14. ^ Solomon 2011, p. 14.
  15. ^ Solomon 2011, pp. 14, 227.
  16. ^ Solomon 2011, pp. 1, 14.
  17. ^ Golden 1996, p. 75.
  18. ^ Solomon 2011, p. 1.
  19. ^ Brownlow 1976, p. 35.
  20. ^ Solomon 2011, p. 227.
  21. ^ "Life's Shop Window". Catalogue of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2013-12-03. 
  22. ^ "More Stars". Variety. 36 (6): 22. 1914-10-10. 
  23. ^ Bush, W. Stephen (1914-11-14). "Life's Shop Window". The Moving Picture World. 22 (7): 944. 
  24. ^ Solomon 2011, p. 228.
  25. ^ "Anna Karenina". Catalogue of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2013-12-03. 
  26. ^ a b c Solomon 2011, p. 229.
  27. ^ "A Woman's Resurrection". Catalogue of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2013-12-03. 
  28. ^ "The She-Devil". Catalogue of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2015-01-06. 
  29. ^ "The Song of Hate". Catalogue of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2013-12-03. 
  30. ^ Solomon 2011, p. 230.
  31. ^ "The Blindness of Devotion". Catalogue of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2013-12-03. 
  32. ^ a b c Solomon 2011, p. 231.
  33. ^ "The Galley Slave". Catalogue of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2013-12-03. 
  34. ^ Solomon 2011, p. 233.
  35. ^ Solomon 2011, p. 234.
  36. ^ Solomon 2011, pp. 234–235, 252.
  37. ^ Solomon 2011, p. 235.
  38. ^ Golden 1996, p. 251.
  39. ^ Solomon 2011, pp. 236, 243, 261.
  40. ^ "A Daughter of the Gods". Catalogue of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2015-01-05. 
  41. ^ Robertson 1993, pp. 9–10.
  42. ^ Solomon 2011, p. 236.
  43. ^ Solomon 2011, pp. 236–237.
  44. ^ a b c Ginini 2012, p. 131.
  45. ^ Solomon 2011, pp. 237, 253.
  46. ^ Solomon 2011, p. 238.
  47. ^ "The Tiger Woman". Catalogue of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2015-01-05. 
  48. ^ Golden 1996, pp. 252–253.
  49. ^ Solomon 2011, pp. 238–239.
  50. ^ "Her Greatest Love". Catalogue of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2015-01-05. 
  51. ^ a b Solomon 2011, p. 239.
  52. ^ "Tangled Lives". Catalogue of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2015-01-05. 
  53. ^ "Heart and Soul". Catalogue of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2015-01-05. 
  54. ^ Solomon 2011, p. 242.
  55. ^ "Camille". Catalogue of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2015-01-05. 
  56. ^ Solomon 2011, p. 243.
  57. ^ Golden 1996, p. 255.
  58. ^ Solomon 2011, p. 244.
  59. ^ "Du Barry". Catalogue of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2015-01-05. 
  60. ^ Solomon 2011, p. 245.
  61. ^ Golden 1996, p. 256.
  62. ^ Solomon 2011, p. 246.
  63. ^ Golden 1996, p. 155.
  64. ^ Solomon 2011, pp. 247–248.
  65. ^ "Under the Yoke". Catalogue of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2015-01-05. 
  66. ^ Golden 1996, p. 257.
  67. ^ Solomon 2011, p. 248–249.
  68. ^ "Cleopatra". Catalogue of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2015-01-05. 
  69. ^ Bennett, Carl, ed. (2012-03-18). "Cleopatra". Silent Era. Progressive Silent Film List. Retrieved 2015-01-09. 
  70. ^ Solomon 2011, p. 250.
  71. ^ a b Golden 1996, p. 259.
  72. ^ Solomon 2011, p. 251.
  73. ^ "The She-Devil". Catalogue of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2015-01-05. 
  74. ^ Bennett, Carl, ed. (2004-10-06). "The She-Devil". Silent Era. Progressive Silent Film List. Retrieved 2015-01-07. 
  75. ^ Solomon 2011, p. 252.
  76. ^ Solomon 2011, p. 252, 261, 281.
  77. ^ "Salome". Catalogue of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2015-01-05. 
  78. ^ Solomon 2011, p. 253.
  79. ^ Solomon 2011, pp. 254–255.
  80. ^ Solomon 2011, p. 256.
  81. ^ Golden 1996, p. 260.
  82. ^ Solomon 2011, pp. 256, 273.
  83. ^ Wenzell, Nicolette (April 3, 2016). "1919 movie 'The Lone Star Ranger' shot in Palm Springs". The Desert Sun. Gannett. 
  84. ^ Solomon 2011, pp. 256, 288.
  85. ^ Solomon 2011, p. 258.
  86. ^ Solomon 2011, p. 259.
  87. ^ "Wings of the Morning". Catalogue of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2015-01-05. 
  88. ^ Solomon 2011, p. 260.
  89. ^ "Heart Strings". Catalogue of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2015-01-05. 
  90. ^ Solomon 2011, p. 261.
  91. ^ "The Adventurer". Catalogue of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2015-01-05. 
  92. ^ Solomon 2011, p. 262.
  93. ^ "The Orphan". Catalogue of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2015-01-05. 
  94. ^ Solomon 2011, p. 263.
  95. ^ "The Joyous Troublemaker". Catalogue of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2015-01-05. 
  96. ^ Solomon 2011, p. 264.
  97. ^ "If I Were King". Catalogue of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2015-01-05. 
  98. ^ Solomon 2011, p. 266, 292.
  99. ^ "Drag Harlan". Catalogue of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2015-01-05. 
  100. ^ Solomon 2011, pp. 267, 290.
  101. ^ "The Scuttlers". Catalogue of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2015-01-05. 
  102. ^ Solomon 2011, p. 270.
  103. ^ Solomon 2011, p. 275.
  104. ^ "The Queen of Sheba". Catalogue of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2015-01-07. 
  105. ^ Bennett, Carl, ed. (2008-03-21). "The Queen of Sheba". Silent Era. Progressive Silent Film List. Retrieved 2015-01-07. 
  106. ^ Solomon 2011, p. 279.
  107. ^ "Nero". Catalogue of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2015-01-07. 
  108. ^ Tillmany & Dowling 2006, p. 47.
  109. ^ Rhodes 1997, p. 75.
  110. ^ Solomon 2011, p. 284.
  111. ^ Solomon 2011, p. 285.
  112. ^ "The Shepherd King". Catalogue of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2015-01-07. 
  113. ^ Solomon 2011, pp. 285–286.
  114. ^ Langman 1998, p. 30.
  115. ^ Solomon 2011, p. 289.
  116. ^ "It Is the Law". Catalogue of Feature Films. American Film Institute. Retrieved 2015-01-07. 

Bibliography

  • Brownlow, Kevin (1976) [1968]. The Parade's Gone By... University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-03068-8. 
  • Geczy, Adam (2013). Fashion and Orientalism: Dress, Textiles and Culture from the 17th to the 21st Century. Bloomsbury Academic. ISBN 978-1-84788-599-9. 
  • Ginini, Ronald (2012) [1996]. Theda Bara: A Biography of the Silent Screen Vamp, with a Filmography (Reprint ed.). McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-6918-5. 
  • Goble, Alan (1999). The Complete Index to Literary Sources in Film. Bowker-Saur. ISBN 978-1-85739-229-6. 
  • Golden, Eve (1996). Vamp: The Rise and Fall of Theda Bara. Vestal Press. ISBN 978-1-879511-32-3. 
  • Justice, Fred C.; Smith, Tom R., eds. (1914). Who's Who in the Film World. Film World Publishing. OCLC 8807170. 
  • Keister, Doug (2011). Stories in Stone New York: A Field Guide to New York City Area Cemeteries & Their Residents. Gibbs Smith. ISBN 978-1-4236-2102-7. 
  • Langman, Larry (1998). American Film Cycles: The Silent Era. Bibliographies and Indexes in the Performing Arts. Greenwood. ISBN 978-0-673-52500-0. 
  • Morris, Peter (1992). Embattled Shadows: A History of Canadian Cinema, 1895–1939. Mcgill Queens University Press. ISBN 978-0-7735-0323-6. 
  • Ramsaye, Terry (1964) [1926]. A Million and One Nights: A History of the Motion Picture. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-7146-1588-2. 
  • Rhodes, Gary D. (1997). Lugosi: His Life in Films, on Stage, and in the Hearts of Horror Lovers. McFarland & Company. ISBN 978-0-7864-2765-9. 
  • Robertson, James Crighton (1993). The Hidden Cinema: British Film Censorship in Action, 1913–1975. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-09034-6. 
  • Slide, Anthony (2001). The New Historical Dictionary of the American Film Industry (2nd ed.). Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-1-57886-015-9. 
  • Solomon, Aubrey (2011). The Fox Film Corporation, 1915–1935: A History and Filmography. McFarland & Company. ISBN 978-0-7864-6286-5. 
  • Tillmany, Jack; Dowling, Jennifer (2006). Theatres of Oakland. Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7385-4681-0. 

External links

  • J. Gordon Edwards on IMDb
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