Barrymore Film Center

Barrymore Film Center A 260-seat cinema, film museum and archive, dedicated to the role Fort Lee, NJ played as the birthplace of the American film industry.

"Given how saturated we are today with broadcast and online footage of Britain in the coronaviral era, it’s astonishing ...
05/28/2020
BFI

"Given how saturated we are today with broadcast and online footage of Britain in the coronaviral era, it’s astonishing to think how invisible the first pandemic in the time of cinema is from the film record. Apart from one informational film, which survives in the BFI National Archive, the influenza pandemic of 1918/19 doesn’t appear in British film at all. There were no newsreel reports, and no fiction films were made that even mentioned the three waves of the pandemic that struck the country in the final year of the First World War and would kill 200,000 people."

Watch the film here: instagram.com/p/CAvRd_3FdJD/

(via BFI)

Unlike today's avalanche of news and online videos, there's hardly any record on film of the flu pandemic of 1918.

05/27/2020
A Trip Through New York City in 1911

Want to take a historic trip to the Big Apple?

Artist Denis Shiryaev has used AI to upscale old New York footage, showing the city streets like never before.

Made in 1911, ‘A Trip Through New York City’ is one of the many treasures at MoMA The Museum of Modern Art. It was originally made by Svenska Biografteatern, a company from Sweden who traveled the world committing its wonders to celluloid. The result was pretty impressive in its original version. MoMA describes the production. “Opening and closing with shots of the Statue of Liberty, the film also includes New York Harbor; Battery Park and the John Ericsson statue”.

Here's a fascinating article about the first film depicting The Titanic. It was released in May 1912, only a month after...
05/26/2020
The First Movie About the Titanic Starred a Titanic Survivor

Here's a fascinating article about the first film depicting The Titanic. It was released in May 1912, only a month after the ship sank. The filming took place in a Fort Lee, New Jersey studio and aboard a derelict ship in New York Harbor. The last known prints were destroyed in the Éclair studio fire in March 1914.

"But the trade publications gave the film excellent reviews, almost all of them praising Dorothy’s realistic portrayal. Many said it was the finest acting they’ve seen from her twenty-film career thus far, saying it watching her portrayal felt like she was reliving the experience. (That was likely because she was reliving it, clothes and all.) Moving Picture World praised the film as “a surprising and artistically perfect reel” and marveled at Gibson’s poise so shortly after her trauma."

(via Atlas Obscura)

It was released only a month after the ship sank.

05/25/2020

CIAO! MANHATTAN was filmed at the legendary Castle in Fort Lee on lower Main Street on #MemorialDay weekend in 1967.

The Castle, a rambling wooden Victorian house built along the Palisades at the top of River Road in 1900, had a storied history. A German immigrant built the house. Kids grew up in Fort Lee with tales of German U-Boats in the Hudson River receiving signals from people in The Castle during World War I – unlikely, but great stories for Fort Lee kids to grow up with and pass along to the next generation.

The Castle was also the first Fort Lee home and studio of the Ortlip family of artists, who worked and lived in The Castle in the early 20th century before moving to another home/studio atop Old Palisade Road in Fort Lee.

By the 1960s, the house was occupied with what locals called "hippies." Truth be told, the renowned artist Peter Max leased The Castle in the 60s, and on Memorial Day weekend in 1967, colleagues of Andy Warhol filmed parts of the film Ciao! Manhattan there, both on the grounds and inside The Castle.

Among those appearing on location for the filming were Warhol's "Factory Girl" Edie Sedgwick and beat poet Allen Ginsberg. The film CIAO! MANHATTAN is available on DVD and worth a look for this rare footage of Fort Lee’s Castle.

"Theda Bara (I'll Keep Away From You)" written by E. Henri Klickmann and Jack Frost, 1916.One of our featured posters, c...
05/22/2020

"Theda Bara (I'll Keep Away From You)" written by E. Henri Klickmann and Jack Frost, 1916.

One of our featured posters, currently framed at the Fort Lee Museum.

"Returning to France with her children, she was unable to find work in the film industry there, and she soon realized th...
05/21/2020
Women of the Silent Film Era: Alice Guy Blaché

"Returning to France with her children, she was unable to find work in the film industry there, and she soon realized that her earlier work as a pioneer in the field had been forgotten or credited to her male colleagues. As the years went by, Guy Blaché became tremendously concerned with her unexplained absence from the historical record of the film industry. In constant communication with colleagues and film historians, she dedicated her time to correcting the “facts” about her career and life..."

Thrilled to share Sherri Rabbinowitz' popular series, Women of the Silent Film era. This week—Alice Guy Blaché!

#womenofsilentfilmera #aliceguyblache #filmhistory #femaledirectors
(via Rithebard Website / FLAPPER PRESS)

Sherri Rabinowitz continues her series on Women of the Silent Film Era with the first female film director—Alice Guy Blaché.

"A prototype for the Kinetoscope was first demonstrated at a convention of the National Federation of Women’s Clubs, an ...
05/20/2020
Women first to see Edison’s Kinetoscope in 1891

"A prototype for the Kinetoscope was first demonstrated at a convention of the National Federation of Women’s Clubs, an event hosted by Edison’s wife, Mina on May 20 1891.

It’s worth noting that the National Federation of Women’s Clubs or General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC) as it is commonly known has roots going back to 1868 when journalist Jane Cunningham Croly attempted to attend a dinner at an all-male press club honoring Charles Dickens and was denied admittance based on her gender.

In response to that happening, Croly formed a club for women and extended invitations to women’s clubs across the country."

#OnThisDay #ThisDayinHistory

Following is a general overview of a particular event in early motion picture history – the day when a group of approximately 150 women were the first to see Edison’s latest invention, …

We've come a long way and are looking forward to completing this great project!
05/15/2020

We've come a long way and are looking forward to completing this great project!

05/13/2020
Smoke (1995) Official Trailer 1 - Harvey Keitel Movie

Happy Birthday to one of our favorite actors, Harvey Keitel...and on the 25th anniversary of his amazing film Smoke...if you haven’t seen it you must!

Starring: Harvey Keitel, Forest Whitaker, and Ashley Judd Smoke (1995) Official Trailer 1 - Harvey Keitel Movie A Brooklyn smoke shop is the center of neighb...

05/13/2020
The Champion: A Story of America's First Film Town

We're excited to announce we have a special limited online presentation of 'The Champion: A Story of America's First Film Town'.

A Sirk Production based on Richard Koszarski’s book, "Fort Lee, the Film Town", The Champion tells the story of that brief golden age and of a modern-day fight to save the era’s last remaining studio — reminding us that the preservation of cinema history involves more than just the restoration of the films themselves.

Tom Meyers, Executive Director of The BFC and also a Producer of 'The Champion' introduces the film below.

Written and Directed by: Marc J. Perez
Producers: John L. Sikes and Tom Meyers
Executive Producers: Kristian Fraga and Nelson Page

Watch here: sirkproductions.com/the-champion

Happy Birthday to Kate Hepburn, an Oscar winning actress, a real honest to God Yankee from New England, and a gal with t...
05/12/2020

Happy Birthday to Kate Hepburn, an Oscar winning actress, a real honest to God Yankee from New England, and a gal with true grit as seen in this photo - photo taken after a hurricane destroyed her Connecticut home in 1938. Photo Credit: Old Saybrook Historical Society.

Lewis J. Selznick, film studio pioneer, started his career in Fort Lee, NJ with the World Film Company.  By 1921 he oper...
05/12/2020

Lewis J. Selznick, film studio pioneer, started his career in Fort Lee, NJ with the World Film Company. By 1921 he operated his own studio and as an active supporter of the Fort Lee community took this ad in the Fort Lee High School Pioneer Yearbook of 1921!

05/08/2020
Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché Trailer #1 (2019) | Movieclips Indie

The Netflix series Hollywood has a line that is directed at a woman who is running a studio due to her husband’s illness in the late 1940’s..the head of production tells her “The fact that you are the first female in history to run a studio...”. Really???? Please get the history right even in works of fiction. Alice Guy Blache’ built her studio Solax in Fort Lee, New Jersey in 1912 and here she wrote, produced and directed hundreds of films before women in this nation had the right to vote. And before that she was the head of production for Gaumont in her native France. Obviously the writers and producers of this Netflix series did not see the great doc on Alice by Pamela Green...

Check out the new trailer for Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché directed by Pamela B. Green! Let us know what you think in the comments below....

05/07/2020
Tip Toe Thru The Tulips 1929

Fantastic footage posted by our friend Gerry Orlando. Our late friend Ron Hutchinson via his Vitaphone Project was in large part responsible for finding and restoring this footage from a film over 90 years old...

GOLD DIGGERS OF BROADWAY [1929] (Tip Toe Thru The Tulips) TECHNICOLOR. This is a partially lost film. Only fragments (such as the above) exist. Check your at...

Check out TCM’s new podcast The Plot Thickens a multi part interview with acclaimed director Peter Bogdanovich...it’s fa...
05/06/2020
The Plot Thickens: A Podcast from Turner Classic Movies

Check out TCM’s new podcast The Plot Thickens a multi part interview with acclaimed director Peter Bogdanovich...it’s fantastic!

Welcome to The Plot Thickens, a documentary podcast from Turner Classic Movies. Each season we’ll bring you a story about the movies and the people who make them.

05/05/2020
ALICE FAYE 'Sing, Baby, Sing!'

Happy Birthday to Alice Faye! Born in Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen she went on to be the star of 20th Century Fox musicals of the 30's into the 40's. Here she sings Sing Baby Sing from the 1936 film of the same name. The great Irving Berlin once said he would choose Alice over any other singer to introduce his songs.

ALICE FAYE at her bubbliest, bounciest best in this toe-tapping number from the film of the same name.

Interesting piece on film during the influenza pandemic of 1918...
05/04/2020
The Plague of Florence (1919) A Silent Film Review

Interesting piece on film during the influenza pandemic of 1918...

A German epic dealing with the historical arrival of the Black Death in Florence. However, the events can also be seen as a response to the 1918 influenza epidemic and the aftermath of the First Wo…

05/01/2020

Sinatra in Fort Lee Part 2 with BFC Executive Director Tom Meyers.

05/01/2020
Quarantine Cocktail Hour at The Shady Rest Bar

Sinatra in Fort Lee Part 1 with BFC Executive Director Tom Meyers.

Tonight on the Quarantine Cocktail Hour all things Sinatra and bourbon! And Fort Lee’s Riviera Nightclub! Part one!

Thanks to our friend and former Coytesville (north section of Fort Lee) resident Geri Caputo for her donation of artifac...
05/01/2020

Thanks to our friend and former Coytesville (north section of Fort Lee) resident Geri Caputo for her donation of artifacts to the Fort Lee Historical Society / Fort Lee Museum and the Fort Lee Film Commission / Barrymore Film Center. This February 20th, 1966 New York Daily News featured photo spread / article on Fort Lee’s role as the first American film town and birthplace of the American film industry is amazing, though some of the info needs revision - for example Cleopatra was shot on the west coast by Fox but Fox Star Theda Bara started on the Fox lot in Fort Lee and made several films here. Tom Hanlon was a mentor to our BFC Executive Director Tom Meyers. What Detroit was to automobiles Fort Lee was to film!

04/30/2020
Children Must Learn, The : Educational Film Institute of New York University and Documentary Film Productions, Inc. : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive

Amazing short documentary circa 1940 The Children Must Learn. TCM just screened this film and this is what makes TCM an American cultural repository as it brings such rare film gems to a large audience.

Educating the children of Appalachia. Director: Willard Van Dyke. Script: Spencer Pollard. Photography: Bob Churchill. Narration: Myron McCormick. Editor:...

Happy Birthday to the late great Oscar winning actress Celeste Holm.  We were proud to present Celeste with our Barrymor...
04/29/2020
From the Archives: All About Celeste

Happy Birthday to the late great Oscar winning actress Celeste Holm. We were proud to present Celeste with our Barrymore Award in 2006!

One of your neighbors posted in Health & Fitness. Click through to read what they have to say. (The views expressed in this post are the author’s own.)

04/26/2020
Old New York City

Amazing 197Os footage from the streets of NYC and the NYPD Emergency Services Unit!

NYPD ESU Truck 1 in 1978

On TCM now Fort Lee’s own Joan Bennett (born in the Palisade section in Dearborn Rd), Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurra...
04/25/2020

On TCM now Fort Lee’s own Joan Bennett (born in the Palisade section in Dearborn Rd), Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray in the 1956 Douglas Sirk film There’s Always Tomorrow.

The Theda Bara film The Darling of Paris was shot at the Fox Studios then located in Fort Lee, New Jersey in 1917. An el...
04/23/2020

The Theda Bara film The Darling of Paris was shot at the Fox Studios then located in Fort Lee, New Jersey in 1917. An elaborate set was constructed on the back lot to recreate Paris where the film is set. The set also included a reproduction of the Notre Dame de Paris

04/23/2020
Colouring The Past

Archival footage of the Andrews Sisters cutting a V disc for America’s armed forces
circa 1941! Same year they introduced this song in the blockbuster film hit of the year Universal Studio’s Buck Privates starring New Jersey’s own Bud Abbott & Lou Costello!

THE ANDREWS SISTERS - BOOGIE WOOGIE BUGLE BOY (in colour)

The video here is a very youthful looking Andrews Sisters performing Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy V-disc for U.S. military overseas personnel, Circa 1941.

I've upscaled and colourised the clip.

A major hit for The Andrews Sisters and an iconic World War II tune that first appeared in the Abbott & Costello comedy film, Buck Privates, BOOGIE WOOGIE BUGLE BOY reached number six on the U.S. pop singles chart in early 1941.

Ranked No. 6 on Songs of the Century, the song is closely based on an earlier Raye-Prince hit, "Beat Me Daddy, Eight to the Bar," which is about a virtuoso boogie-woogie piano player.

According to the lyrics of the song, a renowned Chicago, Illinois, street musician is drafted into the U.S. Army (presumably during the peacetime draft imposed by the Roosevelt administration).

In addition to being famous, the bugler was the "top man at his craft," but the army reduced his musical contributions to blowing the wake up call (Reveille) in the morning.

His not being able to play his usual chops depressed him: "It really brought him down, because he couldn't jam." The Cap (an army captain – the company commander) was sympathetic and assembled a band to keep the bugler company. Back in the saddle again, he infuses his style into reveille: "He blows it eight to the bar...in boogie rhythm."

His company is enthusiastic about his style too: "And now the company jumps when he plays reveille."

But, apparently the bugler can't get it done without his band, "He can't blow a note if the bass and guitar/Isn't with him."

-----------------------------------------

Hello, and a warm welcome to everyone who has joined COLOURING THE PAST.

The page is my attempt to add a little colour to the cheeks of the past. It's not intended to offer anything 'better' than the original black & white footage; just a different take.

Running the page is a one-man operation. I write and research the articles, and edit the videos which involves several hours of work - upscaling, colourising and tweaking in various software.

This takes about half a day of unpaid work. If you could see fit to make a small donation then I would be genuinely grateful.

Thank you and best wishes, Paul :)

Just visit one of the links to donate (all secure connections):

PAYPAL: https://www.paypal.me/decade7787

JUSTGIVING: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ctp

BFC Executive Director Tom Meyers often brings us some fun then and now shots of films shot in Fort Lee during our film ...
04/22/2020

BFC Executive Director Tom Meyers often brings us some fun then and now shots of films shot in Fort Lee during our film town days. During this quarantine Tom widened his scope. For those of you who have ME TV catch the iconic and surreal CBS comedy which aired from 1965-1961 on the CBS television network. It airs on ME TV at 9:30 pm on week nights. Considered one of the many rural comedies on CBS this was actually a combination of the Twilight Zone, a Dali painting and a surreal take on American life....Green Acres. Here’s a frame from the iconic intro to the show, a typical American farmhouse along with a current day photo of the same site today. That house still exists and still has the same tree and telephone pole near it and it is located in Paso Robles, California and is for sale. It’s three hours north of Los Angeles. Might seem a crazy thing to post here but it’s a crazy time and what better time to research some of the iconic imagery of American pop culture.

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What is the Barrymore Film Center?

This 260 seat cinema, film museum and archive will be built on Main Street and Park Avenue. Owned by the Borough of Fort Lee and operated by the Fort Lee Film Commission, the BFC will showcase emerging filmmakers, host film festivals and screen classic retrospective films, foreign films and silent films from around the world.

The BFC also will create museum exhibits to showcase American film history and the American film industry which was born more than a hundred years ago on Main Street in Fort Lee, NJ.

Nearby museums


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Comments

Mr. John Barrymore’s pipe at Keens Steakhouse in Manhattan.
. In the early days of what would become The Silent Film Industry... All across The New York Tri-State Area, there were Nickelodeon Parlors. These locations had 'Picture Machines' that created an early form of motion picture technology from which a series of 'Still Photographs' were gathered in a progressive rotation wheel, where you would look into a scope and turn a mechanical crank... thus causing a 'picture motion effect'. These machines were a primitive early form of motion picture amusement and were very popular. As the use of Early Film Technology improved... attempts to create 'A Film Standard', various types of film and equipment was invented and some of this was patented, protected and licensed according to the authority and rights of the company in question. One of the progressive film and equipment technology that began to take dominance in film standardization, was 'The Edison Labs'. Having a firm foothold in the early beginnings, both The Edison Labs and it's studios, began to monopolize the industry. Under their licensing standards, they began to deploy control over the industry. In their attempts to keep the film industry open... many Early Independent Film Pioneers getting into 'The Film Biz', began to get slapped with various forms of Film Patent Violations and Lawsuits (Mostly in New York City)… Many forced out of business. Both Nickelodeon and Motion Picture Film Parlors/Theatres acutely felt these unfair enforcements and restrictions upon them as well. Both authorized licensed and non-authorized licensed films were running amuck. With little or no solution in sight... A number of 'Independents', left the strict jurisdiction of New York State and moved to Fort Lee, New Jersey. Though The State of New Jersey had their own restrictions... they were not as enforced as New York. For a critical time in the growing history of the early film industry, Fort Lee became 'A Film Industry Oasis'. Many noted 'Industry Independents' united there and legally (and Illegally) defended their right to keep the early film industry free and open. In the fighting of various film patent lawsuits, it was a bitter-sweet victory. Many Licensed and Independent Film Companies came and went... some relocating to California and Arizona, where there were little or no film restrictions. All in all, Fort Lee, as a film industry center, made it's mark. (Photo: The Edison Studios, Bedford Park Bronx, New York)
Tom, I contacted you a while ago about my grandmother being in the silent movies. Lillian Jones Connell - her daughter, Jean Ganley has the outfit she wore (she was an actress that played an Indian squaw). I will give you my aun't's contact info, etc. if you are interested in this outfit for the museum.
LOVE the cover page VIDEO!!! Very Cool!! Thanks, Tom Meyers