Contact: Craig D'Ooge (202) 707-9189

June 17, 1999

Grandson of Silent Film Pioneer to Speak

Edwin W. "Ned" Thanhouser, grandson of silent motion picture pioneers Edwin and Gertrude Thanhouser, will curate a program of historic silent films on June 25 and 29, 1999, in the Library of Congress Mary Pickford Theater at 6:30 pm.

The Thanhouser Company, and its successor, Mutual's Thanhouser Film Corporation, was one of the pioneering independent motion picture production companies. Thanhouser produced and released to worldwide distribution more than 1,000 silent films. Mr. Thanhouser will speak about the history of the Thanhouser film enterprise followed by the showing of four Thanhouser films that chronicle the evolution of early cinematic style. Ray Brubacher will provide live musical accompaniment:

"Only in the Way" (1911) - a sweet one-reel story in which a child effects grandmother's return to her parent's home after the young wife has caused the elderly lady's removal to the nursing home.

"The Cry of the Children" (1912) - a critically acclaimed two-reel tragedy that deals frankly with the issue of child labor abuse.

"The Vagabonds" (1915) - a one-reel drama about a tramp and his dog based upon the famous 1863 poem by J.T. Trowbridge.

"The World and the Woman" (1916) - a five-reel feature starring the legendary 20th century American theater actress Jeanne Eagels in her Thanhouser screen debut as a prostitute turned faith healer.

The Library of Congress, the George Eastman House, and the Museum of Modern Art are making films available for the program. These films represent modern efforts by archives to preserve films originally released on highly volatile and unstable nitrate film stock. Of the more than 1,000 films produced by Thanhouser, only 181 prints have been found and most have been preserved. New films are discovered each year and more than a dozen Thanhouser nitrate films are currently awaiting preservation.

The Thanhouser Company, including its successor, Mutual's Thanhouser Film Corporation, was an extraordinarily active and energetic film company that thrived from 1909 through 1917; it was based in New Rochelle, N.Y. Founder Edwin Thanhouser was the first head of an American motion picture studio who had a substantial background in theater. He was an important leader in the rebellion of the "Independents" against the Motion Picture Patents group associated with Thomas Edison.

The Mary Pickford Theater is located on the third floor of the Library of Congress Madison Building, and is the public exhibition venue of the Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division. Reservations may be made by phone, starting June 17; call (202) 707-5677. Reserved seats must be claimed at least 10 minutes before showtime, after which standbys will be admitted to unclaimed seats. All programs are free, but seating is limited to 64 seats.

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PR 99-091
6/17/99
ISSN 0731-3527

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