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History of Jacksonville, FL: Silent Film in Jax

This guide contains information and resources about Jacksonville, Florida. Resource selections include books, eBooks, databases, images, video, and websites about multiple topics relating to Jacksonville, Florida.

Silent Film in Jacksonville

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Back to the Primitive (1911, Selig Polyscope)

NOTE: Title cards for this film are in Dutch.

Released May 11, 1911, Back to the Primitive features wild animals brought to Jacksonville by Selig Polyscope when the studio set up shop at Dixieland Park in October 1910. At a screening of the film attended by a columnist for the Motion Picture News, a woman in the theater yelled "My Gawd, will them lions get her?" when star Kathlyn Williams was menaced on screen. The film features an early performance by future star cowboy Tom Mix. A full description of the plot is available in the May 13, 1911 issue of Moving Picture World.

A Bath Tub Elopement (1916, Eagle)

Released November 20, 1916, A Bath Tub Elopement is one of a series of Marcel Fernandez Perez's "Tweedledum" comedies made at Eagle Films in Arlington at a location that would later be home to Norman Studios. A description of the action of the film is available in the November 25, 1916 issue of Motion Picture News.

A Busy Night (1916, Eagle)

A Busy Night

Released June 26, 1916, A Busy Night is one of a series of Marcel Fernandez Perez's "Tweedledum" comedies made at Eagle Films in Arlington at a location that would later be home to Norman Studios. This film includes a scene set outside Downtown Jacksonville's Morocco Temple. A full page ad for the Tweedledum series can be found in the October 21, 1916 issue of The Moving Picture World.

By a Woman's Wit (1911, Kalem)

Released April 5, 1911, By a Woman's Wit is one of a series of Civil War-era adventures shot by the Kalem Company at their winter home at the Eastside's Roseland Hotel. A small cadre of actors lived in Jacksonville throughout the season and appeared in various roles in different films, sometimes accompanied by local vaudeville players. Many of those films, like this one, were directed by Canadian filmmaker Sidney Olcott, whose motion picture career spanned two decades. A synopsis of this film can be found in the April 8 1911 issue of The Moving Picture World.

Captain Kate (1911, Selig Polyscope)

Released July 13, 1911, Captain Kate features wild animals brought to Jacksonville by Selig Polyscope when the studio set up shop at Dixieland Park in October 1910. Lead actress Kathlyn Williams starred in a series of jungle pictures for Selig and also worked as a writer and director for the company. The film also includes an early performance by future star cowboy Tom Mix. A full description of the plot is available in the July 15, 1911 issue of Moving Picture World and a review appears in the June 1911 issue of Motography.

The Confederate Ironclad (1912, Kalem)

The Confederate Ironclad

Released October 5, 1912, The Confederate Ironclad is one of a series of Civil War-era adventures shot by the Kalem Company at their winter home at the Eastside's Roseland Hotel.  A small cadre of actors lived in Jacksonville throughout the season and appeared in various roles in different films, sometimes accompanied by local vaudeville players. Miriam Cooper, who appears here as the Southern sweetheart Rose Calvin, went on to starring roles in D.W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation and Intolerance; in her memoir she reminisces about the baby alligator she adopted as a pet while living in Jacksonville. The score for this film, composed by Walter Cleveland, is one of the earliest fully written-out American film scores known to survive. A synopsis of this film along with some production stills can be found in the September 1, 1912 Kalem Kalendar.

Darling of the C.S.A. (1912, Kalem)

Released September 7, 1912, The Darling of the C.S.A. is one of a series of Civil War-era adventures shot by the Kalem Company at their winter home at the Eastside's Roseland Hotel.  A small cadre of actors lived in Jacksonville throughout the season and appeared in various roles in different films, sometimes accompanied by local vaudeville players. Anna Q. Nilsson, the Swedish-American actress playing the titular darling and spy, would play another girl spy - this time for the Union - less than a month later in The Confederate Ironclad; later in life she would appear as one of the "waxworks" in Sunset Boulevard. A synopsis of this film along with some production stills can be found in the August 1, 1912 Kalem Kalendar, and a review is available in the August 31, 1912 issue of The Moving Picture World.

The Diver (1911, Kalem)

Released March 15,1911, The Diver is a documentary-style film shot by the Kalem Company. Focusing largely on the preparations of the diver for his submersion into the St. Johns to plant dynamite under a shipwreck, it concludes with a bang. While it is not immediately clear which ship is being blown up, wrecks were common enough in the St. Johns that this is the second Kalem picture to depict one; the company's 1910 film The Castaways used another wreck as a backdrop for its action. A synopsis of this film can be found in the March 18, 1911 issue of The Moving Picture World.

Fred's Fictitious Foundling (1918, Klutho)

NOTE: Title card incorrectly identifies this film as Bouncing Baby.

Released in June of 1918, Fred's Fictitious Foundling (frequently mislabeled as Bouncing Baby) was shot by the Florida Film Corporation at Klutho Studios. This film was one of a series of Fatty Filbert films (also known as Josh Binney Comedies) starring Hilliard Karr. A review of this film that includes a plot description is available in the May 11, 1918 issue of Motion Picture News.

The Flying Ace (1926, Norman Studios)

For Love of an Enemy (1911, Kalem)

The Girl Spy Before Vicksburg (1910, Kalem)

The Hero (1917, King Bee)

Hungry Hearts (1916, Vim)

Lost in the Jungle (1911, Selig Polyscope)

NOTE: Title cards for this film are in Dutch.

Love and Duty (1916, Vim)

One Too Many (1916, Vim)

The Railroad Raiders of '62 (1911, Kalem)

The Railways Mail Clerk (1910, Kalem)

The Servant Girl's Legacy (Lubin, 1914)

The Villain (1917, King Bee)

When Lovers Part (1910, Kalem)

NOTE: Title cards for this film are in Dutch.

The Witch of the Everglades (1911, Selig Polyscope)

The Wrong Handbag (1913, Lubin)