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VitagraphAmerica's First Great Motion Picture Studio$
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Andrew A. Erish

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780813181196

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813181196.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM KENTUCKY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.kentucky.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The University Press of Kentucky, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in KSO for personal use.date: 25 June 2022



(p.158) 5 1919–1925

Andrew A. Erish

University Press of Kentucky

Chapter Five pays special attention to writer-director-actor Larry Semon, who transformed the company's approach to comedy from reality-based characters and situations to absurd, frenetic slapstick. This resulted in Semon emerging as Vitagraph's biggest box office star of the 1920s. The popularity of Western-themed serials is covered, as is the rise of Corinne Griffith in becoming Vitagraph's leading female star. Two of the company's most critical and popular successes, Black Beauty and Captain Blood, are considered in depth. Albert Smith's battles with Adolph Zukor, whose initial efforts to "smash Vitagraph" are covered in the previous chapter, culminate here with Vitagraph's decision to bring suit against Paramount for violation of the Clayton Anti-Trust Act, which is analyzed in detail. Related is Vitagraph's withdrawal from the MPPDA and its criticism of president Will Hays as a shill for Paramount. The chapter concludes with Smith's decision to sell Vitagraph to Warner Bros. in 1925.

Keywords:   Larry Semon, Corrine Griffith, serials, Oliver Hardy, Adolph Zukor, censorship, Will Hays, Captain Blood, Magnificent Ambersons, Warner Brothers

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