Magazine article American Cinematographer

Texas' First Picture Show

Magazine article American Cinematographer

Texas' First Picture Show

Article excerpt

Texas' First Picture Show by Frank Thompson Republic of Texas Press, 243 pps., paper, $12.95

Everybody knows Georges Méliès, the pioneer French filmmaker. Less known is his older brother, Gaston, who came to Manhattan in 1903 to establish a branch of the Méliès Star Film Company. In 1910, the entire Star company fled a nasty Eastern winter and established the Star Ranch next to hot Wells, a plush sulfur springs resort near San Antonio, Texas. The idea was to produce authentic Westerns using the outfit's roster of movie stars - Francis Ford, Edith Storey, William Carroll and Ben Cooper - along with real cowboys. The director was William Haddock and the cinematographer was William Paley, an Edison associate when the Kinetoscope was invented. Later, Star moved on to California, and also made films in Tahiti, Raratonga, New Zealand, Bora-Bora, Australia, Java, Cambodia and Japan.

Although the text concentrates on the Ranch period, all of the films produced by Gaston Méliès from 1903 to 1914 are listed. …

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