Many don’t realize that New York and the beginnings of cinema have a longer history than just Edison, Dickson and the Black Maria.
Much of what transpired in the first two decades of movie history happened in New York and the surrounding area—Fort Lee became a favorite spot to build sets—and studios such as Paramount continued to make films in the City for some time.
Which is part of the reason that you might want to check out the series Hollywood on the Hudson, which begins today at the Film Forum. Packed mostly with films shot in the 1930s, there are a number of rare silent and early sound films in the mix too, including twelve early sound shorts filmed at Brooklyn’s Avenue M Studios and “unseen since 1929!” according to the Film Forum site.
The series, programmed by the ever-perspicacious Bruce Goldstein, garners its title from film historian Richard Koszarski’s book “Hollywood on the Hudson: Film and Television in New York From Griffith to Sarnoff”. A new paperback version of this detailed history will be available at the Film Forum. More info on the series here.