Lubin’s Silent Film Empire

Siegmund Lubin, a relatively unsung hero of early cinema history, is being celebrated in a free virtual exhibit mounted by Philadelphia’s National Museum of American Jewish History.

‘Pop’ Lubin’s Silent Film Empire, as the exhibit is called, reigned from 1896 to 1916, with most of its thousand-plus films no longer in existence. 

Here, though, are three survivors recommended by the museum:

The Outcast and the Bride (two minutes, 1903), which “features some interesting special effects” and a story based on a then-popular song, “so audiences could sing along while watching the action.”

The Doctor’s Bride (five minutes, 1909), which includes a  “Liberty Bell-shaped anti-piracy device affixed to each backdrop.”

Willie the Hunter (seven minutes, 1912), a comedy.

The museum exhibit includes 21 artifacts related to Lubin and/or his Philadelphia-based Lubinville studio, plus lots more to explore. Just visit nmajh.org/exhibitions/now-showing.

(Top photo source: Wikimedia Commons)

About Les Luchter

Les Luchter is a former managing editor of Multichannel News, editor-in-chief of Cable Marketing, and news editor of Broadcast Week.

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