100 Years – “The Squaw Man”

     Today, (Feb 15, 2014) marks the 100 Anniversary of “The Squaw Man’s”  theatrical release, Hollywood’s first feature-length film. 
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One hundred years ago the first Hollywood feature film, The Squaw Man, opened in theaters across the country. Filmed in a Los Angeles barn and nearby locations, The Squaw Man’s fantastic success (it was remade twice, first in 1918 and later with sound in 1931) gave birth to copycat productions that eventually turned Tinseltown into the modern film mecca it’s become.A century later, Hollywood’s highest grossing films have budgets more than 10 times as much as The Squaw Man‘s entire gross.  In honor of that film’s precedent-setting
         TIME has scoured the movie vaults and found the highest grossing films from each year of the past century and packed them into five and a half minutes.  From silent films to musicals, Best Picture winners to summer superhero mega-hits, these films opened moviegoers’ hearts (and wallets!) for the past 100 years.
Remembering Hollywood’s First Feature Film – “The Squaw Man”  (Video Link)
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         As Hollywood goes through the annual ritual and frenzy of the Oscars, celebrating all it is and aspires to be through the prism of this year’s films, it’s worth noting that on this day 100 years ago the first feature film hit theaters.
The Westmores

Westmores missing from photo – Frank & Bud

     My family has had a wonderful relationship working on almost every Jesse Louis Lasky film, (and there were thousands.)   Starting with my Grandfather and my Father  (Mont) working at Famous Players-Lasky Corp. Studio’s,  (later to become Paramount Pictures) on Vine Street and Sunset Boulevard with  Rodolfo Alfonso Raffaello Pierre Filibert Guglielmi di Valentina d’Antonguolla’s films (professionally known as Rudolph Valentino.)

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     I am extremely happy that our George H. Westmore family’s star on the Walk of Fame, (many thanks to our Museum President for his insistence) located directly across the street from the original location of the Lasky-DeMille Barn on Vine Street between Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard.  (Dad was responsible for the famous Valentino look that became an international sensation.)   The image below is with Valentino next to Cameraman Alvin Wyckoff and is from the Lasky’s 1922 film “Blood & Sand.”
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1916famousplayersFeature Play CoLasky 3 
     My Congratulations go out to Betty Lasky on the 100 year anniversary of her father’s film, “The Squaw Man.”  Jesse L. Lasky was a real Hollywood founder:  Produced – Thousands of Hollywood Films,  Founder – Paramount Studios, Founder of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences/ The Oscars,  Founder of The Motion Picture Country Home & Hospital and Founder of the very first Hotel in Hollywood for Actors the “Hillview Apartments” at 6533 Hollywood Boulevard. A street in Beverly Hills is named after him because of his contributions.

  • (At a time when Hollywood was a sleepy little town influenced by residents with strong puritan principles, actors arriving from the stages of New York and looking to get into “pictures,” often had no where to stay. What few living spaces were available to rent had signs that read, “No Dogs and No Actors.”  The lack of housing available to actors in Hollywood led movie moguls Jesse L. Lasky and Samuel Goldwyn to build an apartment complex that would cater specifically to the acting community.   In 1917, at 6533 Hollywood Boulevard, the Hillview Apartments (now the Hudson Apartments) were erected.)
Paramount_Studios_1920sParamount 1920 2Paramount Gate 4
     This relationship with Lasky Films all of my Uncle’s includes my Uncle Perc working at Warner Brothers on the  Jesse L. Lasky Produced Best Picture “Sergeant York.”  “Sergeant York” is a 1941 biographical film about the life of Alvin York, one of the most-decorated American soldiers of World War I.   It was directed by Howard Hawks and was the highest-grossing film of the year.  It won an Academy Award for Best Actor (Gary Cooper),  an Academy Awards for Best Film Editing (William Holmes.)   My mother Edith Westmore was the Hair Stylist for the picture.
(Below is a photo of my dad Mont working on Vivien Leigh in “Gone With The Wind.”
Mont - 1Vivian 1
1919 - Jesse L. Lasky Jesse L. Lasky was the “True Gentleman of Hollywood.”
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