The Adventures of Dollie (1908)

Spielberg. Nolan. Jackson. Cameron. Even though they rarely appear in front of the camera, directors in the modern era are almost as well known as the actors who do.

At the dawn of cinema, directing wasn't even a job. With no screenplays to interpret or even rarely a crew to manage, the direction of a film was typically down to the producers of it, or - certainly in the case of the Lumière brothers - even the manufacturers of the equipment itself.

At the start of the 1900s with the rise of fictional films, directing gradually became necessary, with figures such as Georges Méliès becoming as well known as his films. However, the biggest director of the pre-1920s era was, undoubtedly, David Wark Griffith.

After an early career as an actor, D. W. Griffith briefly tried to get into scriptwriting but after getting rejected he moved on to work for the Biograph Company (the first American company dedicated to film production) where he again took on acting work. In 1908, when the first director took ill, and his son failed to bring Biograph success, Griffith was offered the role of director.

Griffith's first film was The Adventures of Dollie, which tells of a young girl who is kidnapped by a gypsy and ends up put in a barrel which heads towards a waterfall.

While perhaps unremarkable by modern scripting, the film does feature a number of advanced storytelling techniques including one discrete jump cut towards the end of the feature.

Griffith would go on to direct an additional 47 shorts for Biograph in 1908 and is today considered to be the most important filmmaker of his generation as he spearheaded the movement towards feature length films.

You can watch The Adventures of Dollie in full below.

If you're here because of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge 2021, please stop by the theme reveal page which has a full list of all films used in the challenge.


  1. I was aware of Griffiths and how much he contributed to the language of cinema, but not this early film. A fascinating watch.

  2. Fascinating how the film industry was different in those days.

    The Old Shelter - The Great War


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