Timeline of Greatest Film
Milestones and Turning Points
in Film History


The Year 1913

Timeline of Greatest Film History Milestones and Turning Points
(by decade and year)
Introduction | Pre-1900s | 1900s | 1910s | 1920s | 1930s | 1940s | 1950s
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1910, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918, 1919

The Year 1913
Year
Event and Significance
1913
"Hollywood"'s name was formally adopted. It replaced the East Coast as the center of the burgeoning movie industry.
1913
Carl Laemmle's and IMP's first feature-length film release - the first major American feature-length exploitation sex film - was the six-reel melodrama (and faux documentary) Traffic in Souls (1913) (aka While New York Sleeps). The film premiered in New York City on November 24, 1913 at Joe Weber's Theater. It was a "photo-drama" expose of white slavery (entrapment of young women into prostitution) at the turn of the century in NYC, although the film exploitatively promised steamy sex in its advertisements. This was one of the first films to understand that 'sex sells,' although its producers worried that a 'feature-length' film on any subject wouldn't be successful. It was the most expensive feature film of its time at $57,000, although its record earnings were $450,000.
1913
The Keystone Studio's comedy short The Bangville Police (1913), directed by Henry Lehrman, was released. It starred Mabel Normand and the group known as the Keystone Kops (actors Fred Mace, Raymond Hatton, Edgar Kennedy, Ford Sterling, and Al St. John). Although considered the seminal Keystone Kops short, it was not the first film to feature the group. The first appearance of the Keystone Kops in a comedy was in director Mack Sennett's Hoffmeyer's Legacy (1912). The Keystone Kops (or Cops), ultimately appearing in twelve films, became synonymous with Sennett's studio.
1913
Cinema's first custard-pie-thrown-in-the-face (an old vaudeville gag joke) was in director Mack Sennett's 10 minute silent short A Noise From the Deep (1913), a Keystone Kops comedy in which farmgirl Mabel Normand threw a pie into obese farmhand Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle's kisser. It was Normand's and Arbuckle's first romantic screen teaming, and they made many more films together.
1913
The American director D. W. Griffith, director of hundreds of short films, was credited with defining the art of motion pictures. In making his films, Griffith used filming techniques still used today. Such filming techniques included altering camera angles, using close-ups in a dramatic way, breaking scenes up into multiple shots, and more. Previously, filmmakers kept the camera in one position which was generally 12 feet away from the actors and at a right angle to the set. In 1913, Griffith finished his contract with Biograph films in NYC and left, because he wanted to make feature-length films. His production company became an autonomous production unit partner in Triangle Pictures Corporation with Keystone Studios and Thomas Ince.
1913
The first episode of the first true cliff-hanger serial was released, for the multi-episode Selig Polyscope film The Adventures of Kathlyn (1913), starring Kathlyn Williams as the heroine. Harold MacGrath's novel of the same name was released in early 1914, a few days after the theatrical film release (in late 1913), to be concurrently sold in bookstores. This was the first novel based on a movie, with stills taken from the film.
1913
In 1913, the Edison Film Company advertised his "latest and greatest invention" - the Kinetophone (or projector), a new version of an earlier device to show his "Talking Pictures" and provide "Perfect Synchronism." [Edison's term "Talking Pictures" was the likely source of the first popular use of the term "talkies" to refer to synchronized sound and film showings.] During showings of his films, synchronization occurred by connecting the projector at the rear of the room, by a drive shaft or long pulley, to the phonograph on the stage. The films were only about 6 minutes long, due to the limitations of the running time of the celluloid cylinder records (5 1/2" in diameter). Edison produced 19 talking pictures in 1913. In only two years, Edison abandoned sound motion pictures, due to continuing difficulties with synchronization, and the end of Edison's patent protection for his motion picture inventions due to the dissolution of his MPPC (Motion Picture Patents Company).
1913
The first feature-length western was Lawrence B. McGill's six-reel Arizona (1913).
1913
The first film to feature an all-Native American cast was Hiawatha (1913).
1913
John Randolph Bray's first animated film, The Artist's Dream (aka The Dachshund and the Sausage) (1913), the first animated cartoon made in the U.S. by modern techniques was the first to use 'cels' - transparent drawings laid over a fixed background.
1913
Denmark's Atlantis (1913, Dan.), another ship-sinking story influenced by the real-life sinking of the Titanic tale one year earlier (April, 1912) - and filmed off the coast of New Zealand, was one of the first full-length films ever made. It had a 1 hour, 53 minute running time. This version of the story from director August Blom appeared to sink a full-scale boat for realism. It was a very realistic and naturalistic-looking Titanic film with a well-staged action scene of the ship's sinking. It was also one of the most popular films of the silent decades, and a worldwide smash hit.
1913-1914
French director Louis Feuillade's Fantomas series popularized the crime serial.


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