ALICE GUY: THE FIRST WOMEN FILM DIRECTOR
Alice Guy did not work very long as a typist for the Gaumont Film Company in 1894 before she started directing, producing and writing more than 700 films. In 1906 she directed The Life of Christ, which included 300 extras and was one for the biggest productions of its time. She also directed The Cabbage Fairy 1896, one of the earliest narrative fiction films in history and was probably made before Melies formalist films but after the Lumiere brother’s first fiction film L’arroseur, 1985.
Alice was one for the pioneers of audio recording and special affects. Using Gourmont’s Chordophone system she was able to use audio in conjunction with images. She was also used double exposures, masking techniques and ran the film backwards to create her films.
In 1907 Alice and her husband Herbert Blanche lead Gaumont’s industry to USA but after two years they started the formation of they’re own company called The Solax Company, the largest pre Hollywood studio in America with production studio’s in New Jersy and New York. In 1905 she gave birth to her daughter Simone and was the first woman to run and own her own production studio. In 1914 Herbert went to Hollywood with one of the actesses. Guy directed her last film Tarnished Reputations 1920 and almost died making it from the Spanish Influenza. In 1922 she and her husband were divorced and she was forced to auction off the studio. She returned to France and never made a film ever again. In 1927 she returned to France to find some of her work but was unsuccessful.
Her old boss, Gaumont published the history for his film company but made no mention of anything before 1907, when Guy left the France and took the company to America. In 1953, Guy was awarded the Legion D’Honneur, the highest non-military award in France but it was hardly noticed by the public and still is not today.