Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Faithful (1910)

This one-reel slapstick comedy, directed by D.W. Griffith for the Biograph company, is notable today as one of the very first films to be shot in Hollywood. The premise finds respectable gentleman Adonese (Arthur V. Johnson) attracting the attention of the good but simple-minded Faithful (future comedy producer Mack Sennett) after knocking him down and buying him a new suit. Faithful is so moved by this act of kindness that he follows Adonese everywhere, much to the latter's dismay. The film's plot is standard farce, no doubt inspired by the French comedies of the Pathe company that had already inspired earlier Griffith comedies made back East.

Griffith began taking his company West in the winter of 1910, and this film reveals the variety of locations that he found available to him upon his arrival. There are shots looking toward the Hollywood Hills and, later, a shot taken from the top of the hills looking down at the area that is now Hollywood Blvd. The film was shot by Griffith's long-time cinematographer Billy Bitzer. Griffith was working in many different genres at this point in his career, cranking films out to keep up with the demand. Just a couple of years after making this film, Mack Sennett would turn from acting to heading up America's first great comedy factory.

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