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  • Ellen Cheshire

#DirectedbyWomen 1939 - 1896 - behind the scenes

Updated: Oct 13


Back in March 2022, for International Women's Day, I did a blog, #DirectedbyWomen 2000 -2021- Stories Women Tell, where I selected a single film per year, directed by a woman, from 2000 - 2021. I then wondered could I make it all the way back to the beginning of filmmaking? Well I made it through 1970 - 1999 and 1969 - 1940 fairly easily, although there were some years where I only managed to track down one or two films directed by a woman.

But how about this last tranche from 1939 - 1896? Well, without Alice Guy-Blaché it would have been impossible. And even so, there were four years (1901, 1904, 1908 & 1909) where I could find no films to watch directed by women, although according to records Guy-Blaché did release films in 1901, 1904 & 1909. For 1908 and 1909 I did watch films that had women credited as involved in their production.

Do let me know on twitter of any films I should be watching to broaden the range of directors. You can read reviews of many of these films on my letterboxd.


Here we go, 1939 - 1896...

Shchors (1939, Yuliya Solntseva/Alexander Dovzhenko)

Behind the Scenes (1938, Evelyn Spice)

The Bride Wore Red (1937, Dorothy Arzner) - pic. above

Craig's Wife (1936, Dorothy Arzner)

Beside the Seaside (1935, Marion Grierson) - pic. below













The Road to Ruin (1934, Dorothy Davenport/Melville Shyer)

Christopher Strong (1933, Dorothy Arzner)

The Blue Light (1932, Leni Riefenstahl/Béla Balázs)



Working Girls (1931, Dorothy Arzner)

Anybody's Women (1930, Dorothy Arzner)

Le Roi Des Aulnes (1929, Marie-Louise Iribe)

Linda (1928, Dorothy Davenport)

Peasant Women of Ryazan (1927, Olga Preobrazhenskaya)

The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926, Lotte Reiniger)

The Red Kimona (1925, Dorothy Davenport/Walter Lang)

White Water (1924, Nell Shipman)



The Grub-Stake (1923, Nell Shipman)

La Souriante Mme Beudet (1922, Germaine Dulac)

The Love Light (1921, Frances Marion)

Something New (1920, Nell Shipman/Bert Van Tuyle)

La Cigarette (1919, Germaine Dulac)

The Dream Lady ( 1918, Elsie Jane Wilson)



49-’17 (1917, Ruth Ann Baldwin)

Shoes (1916, Lois Weber)

Hypocrites (1915, Lois Weber)

Mabel's Strange Predicament (1914, Mabel Normand)

Suspense (1913, Lois Weber)



A Fool and his Money (1912, Alice Guy-Blaché)

Greater Love Hath No Man (1911, Alice Guy-Blaché)

The Girl Spy Before Vicksburg (1910, Sidney Olcott & Gene Gauntier)


The Awakening (1909, D W Griffith, from a scenario by Mary Pickford) Note: In 1909 Alice Guy-Blaché did direct The Grandmother and What is a Flag? but no prints available.

The Dog Outwits the Kidnapper (1908, Lewin Fitzhamon, made for Hepworth Manufacturing Co. for which, according to the Women Film Pioneer Project, Margaret Hepworth was invovled in all aspects of production at this time)

La Glu (1907, Alice Guy-Blaché)

The Consequences of Feminism (1906, Alice Guy-Blaché)



Voyage en Espagne (1905, Alice Guy-Blaché)

1904: Alice Guy-Blaché directed Electrocution, The First Cigarette and The Crime on Temple Street (no prints available)

Faust et Méphistophélès (1903, Alice Guy-Blaché)

Midwife to the Upper Class (1902, Alice Guy-Blaché)

1901: Alice Guy-Blaché directed Danse basque (no print available)

Pierrette's Escapades (1900, Alice Guy-Blaché)



Wonderful Absinthe (1899, Alice Guy Blaché)

Surprise Attack on a House at Daybreak (1898, Alice Guy Blaché)

Serpentine Dance by Mme. Bob Walter (1897, Alice Guy Blaché)

The Cabbage Fairy (1896, Alice Guy-Blaché) - although watched the 1900 re-make, claiming it for 1896!





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