Guy Blache, Alice

Guy Blache or Guy-Blaché, Alice, 1873–1968, French-American filmmaker, b. Paris as Alice Guy. The first woman filmmaker, she directed, produced, wrote screenplays for, or supervised some 1,000 films. As a secretary to Léon Gaumont, who pioneered the film projector and began the first motion-picture company, she made (1896) the one-minute La Féaux Choux [the cabbage fairy] as a projector demonstration film for prospective buyers, and soon became the firm's head of production. She subsequently made hundreds of short films, some hand-colored and some with synchronized sound recorded on a wax cylinder. In 1907 she married cameraman Herbert Blaché, and they emigrated to the United States. She founded (1910) the Solax Company in Flushing, N.Y., to produce motion pictures, directing some 50 films and supervising almost 300 others; Solax moved to a larger studio in Fort Lee, N.J., in 1912. Guy Blache made many successful, more narratively and psychologically complex features at Solax. In the 1920s the company and her marriage failed, and she returned to France (until 1964) but could not find film work. Her accomplishments were largely unrecognized until the late 20th cent.

See her memoirs (tr. 1986); biography by A. McMahan (2002); study by J. Simon, ed. (2009); P. B Green, dir., Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché (documentary, 2019).

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