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The History of Cinema: 1920







Azerbaijan - France


Barrabas (France, 1920)




– Following the Soviet seizure of power, Nariman Narimanov, the Chairman of the Revolutionary Committee of Azerbaijan, signs a decree nationalising the country’s cinema. [ADD]



  20/4 -

The journalist Vendabole, writing in La Libre Belgique, describes moviegoers as ‘clods’ and argues that ‘the cinema is harmful because it renders people mindless.’ [ADD]


Paul Flon directs Belgique Meurtrie, the country’s first feature film. [ADD]




– The country’s first film, The Funeral of U Tun Shein, is released.   It is directed by U Ohn Maung. [ADD]



  30/6 -

Opera singer Mei Lanfang plays a servant in The Fragrance of Spring Makes it Difficult to Study for the Commercial Press Company. [ADD]

  Dec -

35 full-length films are made in 1920. [ADD]


– The Shaw brothers start making films in Shanghai. [ADD]


De Tre Sma Maend (The Three Small Men), Denmark’s first animated film, is released. [ADD]



  7/5 -

Cairo-based financier Talat Harb Pacha forms the Misr Bank with the intention of developing the Egyptian film industry. [ADD]

    Jean Renoir
  24/1 -

Jean Renoir marries Andre Heuschling (aka Dedee), his artist father Claude’s former model. [ADD]

  1/2 -

A referendum in the magazine Comaedia votes Cecil B. DeMille’s The Cheat and Charlie Chaplin’s Shoulder Arms as joint best films, while Filma magazine abandons the idea of a five worst referendum after too many films are nominated. [ADD]

  10/2 -

Acknowledging his brother as the inventor of the Cinematograph, Auguste Lumiere declines an invitation to a gathering of cinema professionals to celebrate Louis Lumiere’s election to the Academie des Science. [ADD]

  5/4 -

Writing in the Paris-Midi newspaper, Maurice de Waleffe calls for American films to be banned following their invasion of French screens. [ADD]

  16/7 -

In a column for Comaedia, Jean-Louis Croze sparks controversy when he criticises director Maurice Tourneur for having “saved his life, while so many of his compatriots lost theirs,” because he chose to remain in America during the Great War rather than fight on the Front. [ADD]

  18/7 -

While on a tour of Europe, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks are invited to visit the “stomach of Paris” by market porters at Les Halles. [ADD]

    Olive Thomas
  10/9 -

American starlet Olive Thomas is discovered dead from bichloride poisoning in her room at the Ritz hotel in Paris.   The actress was holidaying with her husband, Jack Pickford (brother of Mary). [ADD]

  19/9 -

Writing in Le Cineme, philosopher Henri Bergson states that, “The cinematograph interests me, as do all inventions.   It is capable of suggesting new thoughts to the philosopher.   It could help in the synthesis of memory or thought.” [ADD]

  30/10 -

Abel Gance films La Roue knowing that his partner Ida Danis is dying. [ADD]

  Oct -

The French government increases the import tariff on American films to 20% following proposals in the US Forducy Tariff Bill to raise US tariffs on imports. [ADD]

  1/11 -

The first edition of American Cinematographer is published. [ADD]


– The Pathe-Cinema transfers production and distribution to the new Pathe-Consortium-Cinema company. [ADD]


Other Key Films of 1920


La Paz Bolivia (Paramount) [ADD]


Manuel Rodríguez (Arturo Mario) [ADD]


The American Aunt [ADD]




Barrabas (serial: Louis Feuillade) [ADD]


Mademoiselle de la Seigliere (Andre Antoine) [ADD]

    Germany-Gt. Britain
    USA January-June
    USA July-December



1920: Germany-Gt. Britain

1920: Greece-Switzerland

1920: USA January-June

1920 USA July-December






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