Griffith 1908

Money Mad
R: David W. Griffith. B: David W. Griffith. K: G.W. Bitzer. D: Charles Inslee, George Gebhardt, Arthur V. Johnson, Florence Lawrence, Mack Sennett. P: American Mutoscope & Biograph. USA 1908

“D.W. Griffith set some of his most important Biograph films – The Song of the Shirt (1908), Money Mad (1908), A Child of the Ghetto (1910), The Lily of the Tenements (1911) – in the ghetto neighborhoods of New York City, and in this he was no different from many other filmmakers of the time. However, unlike most of his colleagues in the industry, who used such locations primarily as colorful backdrops for standard melodramas, Griffith sought to advance a markedly progressive agenda through these films, one that used melodrama to critique the systemic corruption and vice found in the inner city.”
Steven Higgins: Still Moving: The Film and Media Collections of The Museum of Modern Art. New York City 2006, p. 43

The Song of the Shirt
R: D.W. Griffith. B: D.W. Griffith, Thomas Hood (story). K: G.W. Bitzer. D: Linda Arvidson, George Gebhardt, Robert Harron, Florence Lawrence, Alfred Paget, Mack Sennett. P: American Mutoscope & Biograph. USA 1908


Florence Lawrence

Romance of a Jewess
R: David W. Griffith. K: G.W. Bitzer. D: Florence Lawrence, George Gebhardt, Gladys Egan, Arthur V. Johnson, Alfred Paget. P: American Biograph. USA 1908

“This early D.W. Griffith short shows the director’s interest in Jewish ghetto life, portrayed here with sympathy and sentimentality. The melodramatic plot involves the conflict between generations that life in the New World brought to the Jewish family.
Lower East Side street scenes blend actors from the Biograph Studios (such as the young Gladys Eagan) with actual street vendors and passersby in such a natural way that it is obvious they were shot candidly with a hidden camera. The part of Ruth, heroine of the story is played by Florence Lawrence, the ‘Biograph Girl’ whose popularity with audiences was such that she became the first American movie star even before her name was known. Romance of a Jewess anticipates Jewish immigrant dramas like The Jazz Singer and His People. Griffith explored similar themes in Old Isaacs, The Pawnbroker and A Child of the Ghetto.”
The National Center for Jewish Film