Ince: Carefully Pre-planning his films

The Lieutenant’s Last Fight
R: Thomas H. Ince. D: Francis Ford, Ethel Grandin, J. Barney Sherry, Ann Little, William Clifford, Art Acord. P: Bison Motion Pictures / New York Motion Picture. USA 1912
Print: EYE
Dutch titles, Engl. subtitles

“By 1912, the practice of analyzing space often incorporates multiple shots, depicting everything from complex action (the attack on a stagecoach in The Lieutenant’s Last Fight, Bison 1812) to straightforward activities (a woman walking from an exterior staircase to a nearby gate, executed over four shots, in Man’s Calling (American 1912 [>>> below]). The representation of a gun battle staged around a cabin, central to In the Service of the State (Lubin 1912) indicates the trend developing by the end of the period: editing alternates between long views of the cabin and closer-scaled shots, drawing the viewer back and forth between relevant sectors opf the space.”
Charlie Keil: Early American Cinema in Transition: Story, Style, and Filmmaking, 1907–1913. Univ. of Wisconsin Press 2001, p. 115

Thomas Harper Ince
“In 1910 he entered films as an actor at Biograph studios in New York, then joined Carl Laemmle‘s Independent Motion Pictures Company as a director, keeping one step ahed of the Motion Pictures Patent Company who wanted to put the renegade Laemmle out of business. While he tackled all sorts of subjects, Ince was most strongly drawn to westerns. He wanted to achieve the sort of spectacular effects accomplished with minimal facilities that his former employer D.W. Griffith had done, but the I.M.P. company was plagued with bad management and disorganization. Almost instinctively, Ince hit upon the formula of carefully pre-planning his films on paper (something Griffith never did), then meticulously breaking down the shooting schedule so that several scenes could be shot simultaneously by assistant directors. This was the dawning of the assembly-line system that all studios would eventually adopt; to better facilitate his theories of filmmaking, Ince purchased 20,000 acreas of seacoast land, upon which he built a studio named Inceville. While he directed most of his early productions, Ince eventually had to give up this responsibility to such proteges as Francis Ford, Jack Conway and Frank Borzage. Signing stage star William S. Hart in 1914, Ince managed to find a man who could both act and direct — on the same relatively meager salary. The Ince product of the mid teens was impressive, though when seen as a whole one finds a tiresome reliance upon tragic endings — which were hailed as “realism” at the time but which now seem contrived. Ince became a partner with D.W. Griffith and Mack Sennett in the new Triangle Company in 1915. Following the lead of Griffith’s Birth of a Nation (1915), Ince turned out a slightly ludicrous but undeniably spectacular anti-war film, Civilization, in 1916; it should have been his chef d’oeuvre, but a shift in America’s war policies caused Civilization to end up in the red. (…) Ince was at the height of his powers in 1924, when he suddenly and mysteriously fell ill aboard the yacht of William Randolph Hearst; Ince was rushed to the hospital, then to his home in California’s Benedict Canyon, where he died without ever regaining consciousness.”
Hal Erickson
ALLMOVIE

Man’s Calling (Frgm.)
R: Allan Dwan.  D: J. Warren Kerrigan, Jessalyn Van Trump, George Periolat. P: American Film Manufacturing Company. USA 1912

>>> Thomas H. Ince

>>> Allan Dwan, 1913Allan Dwan, 1915