Francis Boggs

The Maid at the Helm
R: Francis Boggs. B: Francis Boggs. D: Hobart Bosworth, Sydney Ayres, Fred Huntley, Betty Harte, Tom Santschi, Herbert Rawlinson, George Hernandez. P: Selig Polyscope. USA 1911
Print: EYE
Dutch titles

“A sea yarn, in which Mr. Bosworth plays the part of a maniac who gets control of a whaling vessel after its captain has taken most of the crew out in the boats with him to capture a whale. His object was a crazy notion that a girl, whom the ship had picked up from a wreck, would be his if he could get the captain out of the way. He gains control of those left on board at the point of the only gun left on board. The girl, however, outwits him and shoots him and has him locked in the cabin. She then, at the helm, herself steers the ship back to where the captain and crew are in the small boats. It is competently constructed and very well acted. The sea scenes are realistic and very praiseworthy. But the story seems a little brutal. It would have been pleasanter if the part the girl took hadn’t been so hard and ruthless. She did what a man ought to have done.”
The Moving Picture World, December 23, 1911

The Old Captain
R: Francis Boggs (?). D: Fred Huntley, Anna Dodge. P: Selig Polyscope. USA 1911
Print: EYE
No intertitles (!)

Captain Kate (Frgm.)
R: Francis Boggs, Otis Turner. B: Edward McWade, Otis Turner (story). D: Tom Santschi, Charles Clary, Tom Mix, Kathlyn Williams. P: Selig Polyscope. USA 1911
Print: EYE
German titles

“Two caravans meet on the desert, one headed by Howell and Clancy, two New York men, who are gathering animals for circus purposes, the other is led by an old animal tamer named Desmond and his beautiful daughter, whom the natives have nicknamed Capt. Kate. After exchanging cards, the caravans go their separate ways. Desmond is stricken and dies, leaving Kate alone. She assumes her father’s perilous business, leading her party of native hunters after big game. Later, one of the hunters is stricken and the superstitious followers of Capt. Kate, recognizing the nature of the disease, abandon the hunt and their leader, one servant alone remaining faithful to his mistress. Kate, realizing that she can go no further without assistance, calls a halt and they erect a crude hut in which she is to live, while the servant goes in search of Clancy. Scene of Kate’s isolated life and her dangers follow. She is besieged by wild animals, who make her life a long nightmare of peril. (…)”
Moving Picture World synopsis

Francis Boggs is an obscure figure in the history of cinema, but an important one. It was he who brought the movies to Los Angeles in 1909 when he established a permanent L. A. film studio for the Chicago-based Selig Polyscope Company. In a four-year film career he wrote and directed nearly 200 one-reel films. Today only three are known to survive. He was also the first victim of movieland murder. Boggs was an actor, who toured mining towns in California and finally in Chicago, where he became associated with former magician and minstrel-show operator William Nicholas Selig in filmmaking. He returned to California to shoot the climactic scenes of The Count of Monte Cristo (1908) and ended up playing the lead role as well. He set up Selig’s Los Angeles operation in 1909. In 1911 he was shot and killed by a mentally disturbed employee (the attack also wounded Selig) and was soon forgotten, his work eventually crumbling to dust. But Francis Boggs is as much, if not more, responsible for establishing the American film industry in California as any of the more well-known film pioneers.”
k bogdan

“A highly regarded craftsman, Boggs’ contemporaries considered him among the best film-makers of his generation.”
Steven Higgins

>>> Selig’s Tropical Jungle Zoo

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>>> more Boggs films: Saved by the Pony ExpressA Freight Train Drama