Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers - 49'-17'

Directed by Alice Guy-Blaché and Lois Weber and Helen Holmes and Mabel Normand and Grace Cunard and Dorothy Davenport Reid
Year: 2018

This wonderful Western is an action satire about an East Coast millionaire who decides to relive his youth as a miner in the '49 Gold Rush by hiring a troupe of actors to recreate an old western town. Director/writer Ruth Ann Baldwin, who is virtually unknown, was a journalist and highly successful screenwriter before getting her first chance to direct in 1915.

Ruth Ann Baldwin was a journalist who joined Universal as a screenwriter in 1913. She wrote for the serial The Black Box in 1915, did a stint as an editor, and was tapped by the studio to direct. 49-17 is a charming and suspenseful western parody about a millionaire who hires a wild west theatrical troupe to relive his past as a miner forty niner. Every sacred western cow is turned on its ear: the patriarchal representative of the law, the Young Man, the Gambler, the saloon brawl, and the Woman. Jean Hersholt gives a powerful performance early in his notable career as the taciturn desperado. Despite the success of 49-17, Baldwin’s career as director was over by 1920.

"A corrective to our collective amnesia. A thrilling look at the variety of films made by women, most before they won the right to vote."


"Provides a rare opportunity to see some of the greatest films helmed by early Hollywood’s intrepid women... filling in the blanks of the past and reclaiming the medium’s forgotten stories."


"One of this year’s most essential archival box sets."


"This is nirvana for keen purchasers ready to immerse themselves in a blossoming new expression started over 100 years ago. To those even remotely interested - Kino's 6 Blu-ray package is strongly recommended!"


"...an essential piece of film history, and engaging viewing besides."


"Film fans, rejoice! The true history of the motion picture industry just got a bit more complete."


"This wonderful box set would make a perfect gift for anyone interested in women in film or in film history."


"...one of the most important disc sets of 2018, and it's the perfect gift for the serious cinephile."


Crew
Directed by Alice Guy-Blaché, Lois Weber, Helen Holmes, Mabel Normand, Grace Cunard and Dorothy Davenport Reid