Florence Lawrence + later career question

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Florence Lawrence + later career question

PostSat May 12, 2018 2:48 pm

Florence Lawrence, arguably the first female film star that was not previously prominent in any other industry:

1. Of her silent feature film roles: what titles are extant and available for viewing?
2. Of her silent one- and two-reel roles: what titles are extant, available for viewing, and show her off at her best?
3. The Johnstown Flood (1926): is she recognizable in her role in this film, and if so, what is your opinion of her performance?
4. Secrets](1933): has anyone ever pinpointed her in this?
5. Known as a child in Vaudeville as "Flo, the Baby Wonder" whistler: did she happen to make any recording of her unique talent, and does that recording survive?
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Harold Aherne

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Re: Florence Lawrence + later career question

PostSat May 12, 2018 5:31 pm

Florence Lawrence didn’t really make that many silent features. The bulk of her filmography spans 1907 to 1914, and none of them are shown in the AFI catalogue for 1911-20, meaning none was longer than three reels. (Granted, at the slower camera speeds typical then, some three-reelers could run 40-45 minutes.) After that, the AFI and IMDB only note four credited appearances in silent features:

Elusive Isabel (1916) no archival holding
The Unfoldment (1922) fragment at LOC
The Satin Girl (1923) listed in Kodascope catalogue but no copies known
Gambling Wives (1924) no archival holding

So there's not much left as to the few credited silent features she did make. This information is from http://memory.loc.gov/diglib/ihas/html/silentfilms/silentfilms-home.html. Someone with access to the FIAF database may have information on the shorter films.

As to the unbilled roles, the Film Mercury of 14 May 1926 has an advertisement from Lawrence on page 3 letting producers know she was available as a "character comedienne". The Greater Glory and The Johnstown Flood are shown as recent projects, and presumably this is the source of the IMDB's credits for her in these pictures. No other contemporary journals, at least those found on the Media History Digital Library, make note of her participation, so it's possible that her roles were deleted from the final prints or that she was an "atmosphere" player only.

--HA

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