Timeline of Greatest Film
Milestones and Turning Points
in Film History


The Year 1919

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 1919
Year
Event and Significance
1919
Charlie Chaplin, D. W. Griffith, Douglas Fairbanks Sr., and Mary Pickford established United Artists in an attempt to control their own work outside the established studio system run by movie moguls. UA would distribute and produce their own films, and the actors would share in the profits rather than receiving just a straight contract salary. It was the first serious effort of talented performers to create their own dream factory. Pickford starred in Daddy-Long-Legs (1919), her first film as an independent producer, giving her rights of approval over the final film edit.
1919
United Artists' first feature film, the comedy His Majesty, the American (1919), premiered. It starred one of the studio's founders, Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. (and also Boris Karloff had one of his early roles as an extra).
1919
The Miracle Man (1919) was Lon Chaney's breakthrough film - it first brought his physical skills and makeup abilities to the screen, in his grotesque character portrayal of a fake cripple (a contorted figure named the Frog) who was healed by the title character, a faith healer named The Patriarch. Chaney would go on to become the greatest US horror star of the period, collaborating with Universal (and MGM) director Tod Browning on ten feature films from 1919 to 1929, beginning with Universal's The Wicked Darling (1919).
1919
American film comedian Harold Lloyd, during the filming of Haunted Spooks (1920), was seriously injured when posing for publicity photos and a prop bomb went off in his hand, resulting in the loss of a thumb and index finger on his right hand. He would continue to execute some of the most daredevil stunts, using a prosthetic glove.
1919
Producer/director Oscar Micheaux released his first film The Homesteader (1919), starring pioneering African-American actress Evelyn Preer, thereby becoming the first African-American to produce and direct a motion picture feature film. He also directed the feature-length Within Our Gates (1920) the following year, his earliest surviving directorial effort.
1919
Walt Disney teamed with Ub Iwerks to form Iwerks-Disney Commercial Artists (later known as Ub Iwerks), to create cartoon animations.
1919
Max and Dave Fleischer's "Out of the Inkwell" series premiered, introducing KoKo the Clown, one of the first animated characters.
1919
Felix the Cat first appeared. Originated by young animator Otto Messmer, the (unnamed Felix) cat's first two cartoons were the five-minute Feline Follies (1919) and Musical Mews (1919), when Felix was known only as "Master Tom." Feline Follies was a segment of the Paramount Magazine, a semi-weekly compilation of short film segments that included animated cartoons. By the third Felix cartoon, The Adventures of Felix (1919), Felix took his permanent name.
1919
Different From the Others (1919, Germ.) (aka Anders als die Andern) by director Richard Oswald was reportedly the first representation of male homosexuality ("the third sex") in a feature-length film, and the first screen depiction of a gay bar (with gay males and butch females) - it was notable for sympathetically portraying homosexuality; the two ill-fated lovers were prominent pianist Paul Korner (Conrad Veidt) and his young music student, Kurt (Fritz Schulz); the film had a tragic ending (suicide for Korner) due to the effects of blackmail (threats of exposure), jail time for violating anti-homosexuality statutes, and the social stigma of being outed; the film was banned by the Nazis and all prints were ordered destroyed, although one incomplete print surfaced; the film's themes were repeated in Victim (1961, UK), with Dirk Bogarde.
1919
Austrian-born actor Erich von Stroheim, one of the greatest directors of the silent film era, made his directorial debut with his own script for the film Blind Husbands (1919), in which he also starred as Lieutenant Eric Von Steuben. He would acquire the nickname: "The Man You Love to Hate" for his many villainous German character roles over the years.
1919
The silent drama The Dragon Painter (1919) featured Hollywood's first Asian star, Japanese actor Sessue Hayakawa and his wife Tsuru Aoki. It was one of more than 20 feature films Hayakawa's production company made.


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