Film within the Film

The Evidence of the Film
R: Lawrence Marston, Edwin Thanhouser. D: William Garwood, Florence La Badie, Marie Eline. P: Edwin Thanhouser. USA 1913
Print: Library of Congress

“The Evidence of the Film is a particularly clever and unusual early example of a fictional dramatic movie with filmmaking as a subject. The portrayal of a movie crew that just happens to be at work on a street corner is accurate. The director is seen consulting a shooting script, something a Thanhouser director would do but probably not another studio’s director. The film laboratory and editing scenes are of enormous interest as historical document as well as ingeniously integrated in the crime tale.”
Thanhouser Company Film Preservation, Inc.

When the Studio Burned
R: Lawrence Marston. B: Lloyd F. Lonergan. D: Marguerite Snow (as herself), Helen Badgley (herself), Marie Eline (herself), James Cruze (himself), Justus D. Barnes, Mrs. Gerald Badgley. P: Edwin Thanhouser. USA 1913

“A dramatization of the January 13, 1913 Thanhouser studio fire, but not utilizing any actual film footage from the day of that event, for the camera crew had arrived too late. The action centers about the fictional depiction of Marguerite Snow‘s rescue of ‘The Thanhouser Kidlet’. (In real life, Marguerite Snow was at lunch in her apartment away from the studio when the fire occurred.) The picture was made to capitalize on the nationwide publicity engendered by the fire. Highly fictionalized accounts of the fire were published in various newspapers, the article from ‘The Dayton Journal’, reprinted in the narrative section of the present work, being representative. (…) In the creation of this film, Thanhouser may have taken a leaf from the notebook of P.A. Powers, whose studio was destroyed by fire in 1911. Snatching victory, of a sort, from the jaws of defeat, the Powers Picture Plays Co. created a film from the incident, The Powers Fire, advertised as follows: ‘The peer of motion picture realism – The Powers Fire – in which the entire plant of the Powers Picture Plays Company was consumed by flames, at a net cost to us of $150,000, will be released on Tuesday, July 25 [1911].'”

More about Thanhouser and his films: Thanhouser Company