Underground Film Journal

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Underground Film Timeline: 1900 — 1919

Below is a list of significant events and films in underground film history between the years 1900 and 1919. Reference key of sources appears at the bottom of the page.

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

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
Joyeux microbes

1912

SIGNIFICANT FILMS

FRANCE

Jean Durand

Onésime Horloger

(S.R.) (F.S. lists 1908)

Man creeps into tech room with giant clock
Onésime Horloger

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
Les Vampires

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
J’Accuse

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.