Underground Film Journal

More » Underground Film Timeline: Index

Underground Film Timeline: 1900 — 1919

Facebook logo for sharing Twitter logo for sharing

Below is a list of significant events and films in underground film history between the years 1900 and 1919.

Click each film still for a larger version, or go straight to the 1900–1919 Film Still Gallery.

Reference key:
D.C: David Curtis. Experimental Cinema. New York: Dell Pub., 1978.
D.E.J.: David E. James. The Most Typical Avant-garde: History and Geography of Minor Cinemas in Los Angeles. Berkeley: University of California, 2005.
F.S.: Frank Stauffacher. Art in cinema; a symposium on the avantgarde film. New York: Arno Press, 1968. (reprint from 1947)
P.A.S.: P. Adams Sitney. Visionary Film: the American Avant-garde, 1943-2000. New York: Oxford UP, 2002.
S.R.: Sheldon Renan. An Introduction to the American Underground Film. New York: Dutton, 1967.

1900

Major Events:

Robert Florey is born. (D.E.J.)

1904

Major Events:

Gregg Toland is born in Illinois. (D.E.J.)

1905

Significant Films:

France:

Ferdinand Zecca:
Scenes of Convict Life (F.S.)
A Father’s Honor (F.S.)

1906

Significant Films:

France:

Ferdinand Zecca:
Whence Does He Come? (c1906) (F.S.)
Slippery Jim (c1906) (F.S.) (WATCH)

1907

Major Events:

Alexander Hackenschmied is born in Prague, Czechoslovakia. (He would later change his name to Alexander Hammid.) (P.A.S.) (D.E.J. does not note the city.)

Significant Films:

France:

Emile Cohl:
Drame chez les fantoches (F.S.)

Ferdinand Zecca:
Fun After the Wedding (c1907) (F.S.)

1909

Significant Films:

France:

Emile Cohl:
Joyeux microbes (S.R.)

U.S.:

Winsor McCay:
Gertie the Dinosaur (F.S.)

Drawing of a scientist giving a lecture

1912

Significant Films:

France:

Jean Durand:
Onésime Horloger (S.R.) (F.S. lists 1908)

Man creeps into tech room with giant clock

1913

Significant Films:

France:

Louis Feuillade:
Fantômas (S.R.)

1915

Significant Films:

France:

Louis Feuillade:
Les Vampires (DVD) (S.R.)

Abel Gance:
La Folie du Docteur Tube (D.C.) (S.R. lists as 1916)

Woman in bat costume stretches her wings

1916

Major Events:

Boris Deutsch comes to the U.S. from Germany. (D.E.J.)

1917

Major Events:

Maya Deren is born as Eleanora Derenkowsky in Kiev. (D.E.J.)

Significant Films:

France:

Germaine Dulac:
Ames de Fous (D.C.)

Louis Feuillade:
Judex (S.R.)

1919

Major Events:

Louis Delluc founds serious film criticism in France. (S.R.)

Dimitri Kirsanov moves to Paris to study the cello. (D.C.)

Boris Deutsch moves to Los Angeles. (D.E.J.)

Significant Films:

France:

Germaine Dulac:
La Fête Espagnol (D.C.)

Abel Gance:
J’Accuse (DVD) (S.R.)

Homeless woman cradling her son