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THE KING OF THE MOVIES

Film Pioneer, Siegmund Lubin

Siegmund Lubin, 1851-1923




--------One of the first film pioneers, Lubin's name is not well known today. But at the height of his career in 1912, he was world famous and one of the most colorful and popular men in the American film industry. An immigrant optician who settled in Philadelphia, he became America's first movie mogul a generation before that term was ever used. Beginning in 1897, he became the first to attempt the mass-marketing of the movies, the first to build a chain of movie theaters, the first to build an empire of studios, and the first to use film to combat anti-Semitism. A complex man full of contradictions, he was by turns a pirate, a prophet, a con-man, a philanthropist, and a successful capitalist widely known as a "friend of labor." A loyal friend of Thomas Edison, he also worked behind Edison's back to help young Jews trying to break into the movies. The help he gave to Sam Goldwyn, Jesse Lasky, Mark Dintenfass, and the Warner brothers was instrumental in saving their careers. But the changes wrought by the feature film, a disastrous fire at his main studio, the loss of international markets during the First World War, and a major lawsuit by the federal government forced Lubin into bankruptcy and retirement in 1916.---


A Biographical Time Line

Photographs

Screenings of Lubin Films

The Book

Other Film History Links


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