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Thomas Ince: Hollywood's Independent Pioneer

by Brian Taves

Availablecloth$39.95s 978-0-8131-3422-2
Availableweb pdf$39.95s 978-0-8131-3423-9
Availableepub$39.95s 978-0-8131-3998-2
Screen Classics
384 pages  Pubdate: 01/06/2012  6 x 9 x 1  53 b&w photos

Thomas H. Ince (1880–1924) turned movie-making into a business enterprise. Progressing from actor to director and screenwriter, he revolutionized the motion picture industry through developing the role of the producer. In addition to building the first major Hollywood studio facility, dubbed “Inceville,” he was responsible for more than 800 films.

Thomas Ince: Hollywood’s Independent Pioneer chronicles Ince’s life from the stage to his sudden death as he was about to join forces with media tycoon William Randolph Hearst. Author Brian Taves explores Ince’s impact on Hollywood’s production system, the Western, his creation of the first American movies starring Asian performers, and his cinematic exploration of the status of women in society.

Until now, Thomas Ince has not been the subject of a biography. This book offers insight into the world of silent cinema through the story of one of its earliest and most influential moguls.

Brian Taves is an archivist with the Library of Congress, where this project began with a staff fellowship award. He is the author of over a hundred articles and six books including P. G. Wodehouse and Hollywood: Screenwriting, Satires and Adaptation; Robert Florey: The French Expressionist; and The Romance of Adventure: The Genre of Historical Adventure Movies. He lives in Culpeper, Virginia.

"Scholars and historians welcome an authoritative, detailed, and readable study of this neglected film pioneer."--Richard Koszarski, author of Hollywood on the Hudson: Film and Television in New York from Griffith to Sarnoff

Brian Taves has written the first book length study in English of Thomas Ince, the unjustly forgotten producer-director responsible for creating the classical Hollywood studio system of production. Taves' lucid account of a career cut short by a premature death, debunks the many myths surrounding Ince's mysterious last days, while placing Ince in proper perspective as one of Hollywood's greatest early pioneers. -- Jan-Christopher Horak, Director of UCLA Film & Television Archive

Brian Taves's exhaustive and compelling biography of Thomas Ince documents the career of a valiant independent producer in the early days of Hollywood, a period when the movies became big business. Thanks to Taves's exhaustive research, which documents Ince's working methods, financial arrangements, and filmmaking skills, Ince emerges as a true founder of the industry, along with Adolph Zukor, Carl Laemmle, Cecil B. De Mille and D. W. Griffith. -- Tino Balio, author of The Foreign Film Renaissance on American Screens, 1946-1973

For more than half a century, film historians all over the world have been awaiting an authoritative and scrupulously researched biography of American film mogul Thomas H. Ince. Brian Taves has achieved this formidable task, patiently researching in the remotest archives in order to give us a vivid and convincing portrayal not only of a neglected filmmaker, but of his flourishing film company and his independent studio. A must for any cinephile’s library. -- Hervé Dumont, author of Frank Borzage: The Life and Films of a Hollywood Romantic

I strongly recommend Brian Taves’ vanguard study on Thomas Ince as a definitive source. Accessible and free of jargon, Taves makes exemplary use of newly available archival materials with keen analysis of Ince’s surviving films to paint a vivid picture of Ince’s career as an independent, challenges he faced and overcame, revealing Ince’s contribution as an under-recognized innovator in film history. As Taves demonstrates, Ince developed the division of labor and system of specialized roles that dominate Hollywood to this day. -- Sheri Chinen Biesen, author of Blackout: World War II and the Origins of Film Noir

Until now, Thomas Ince has not been the subject of a biography. This book offers a glimpse into the world of silent cinema through the story of one of its earliest and most influential moguls. -- The Silent Treatment

[Taves] is painstakingly righting nearly a century of wrongheaded, ignorant or deliberately cruel thinking about Ince's character and career. -- The Denver Post

This fascinating book offers insight into the professional achievements and personal struggles facing Ince during the tumultuous silent movie era. -- Film Threat

Filled with unexpected surprises. -- King Features Syndicate

Only one third of Ince’s features survive. . . . Taves is less interested in the nature of his subject’s cinematic achievement than in what his career reveals of the early film industry, and in particular of the struggles between the monopolistic tendencies of the major studios and a few individuals trying to maintain their independence. -- Sight & Sound

Ince was busy making films, not scandal, and it is fitting that this biography treats his business and artistic dealings in detail, for those, and not fictions about his death, are important parts of the larger story of movies. -- Columbus Dispatch

Taves explores Ince’s impact on Hollywood’s production system, the Western, his creation of the first American movies starring Asian performers, and his cinematic exploration of the status of women in society. . . . A great bio for you film buffs out there. -- Kick Ass Book Reviews

Shows just how important [Ince] was to the film business and how many producers model their careers after him today. -- City Book Review

The illuminating result is a picture of an extraordinary businessman who virtually invented the role of the producer and the institution of the studio. -- Virginian Pilot

Will undoubtedly become a priceless handbook for everyone interested in the history of [the] American film industry. -- 25fps