Lois Weber, who had been a street-corner evangelist before entering motion pictures in 1905, became the first American woman movie director of note, and a major one at that.
Herbert Blaché, the husband of Frenchwoman Alice-Guy Blaché, the first woman to direct a motion picture (and arguably, the first director of either gender to helm a fictional narrative film), cast her in the lead of his movie Hypocrites in 1908. Weber first got behind the camera on A Heroine of ‘76 (1911), a 1911 silent that was co-directed by the original American director, ’Edwin S. Porter’, and the actor Phillips Smalley, who played George Washington. She also starred in the picture.
In 1914, a year in which she helmed 27 movies, Weber co-directed an adaptation of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice (1914) with Smalley, who also played Shylock. making her the first woman to direct a feature-length film in the United States. (Jeanie Macpherson, who would play a major role in cinema as Cecil B. DeMille’s… read more