The news roundup is late this month, because November is always a somewhat hectic month for me. Still, I think it’s nice to take a look at the items from the headlines of 100 years ago as we proceed through the year cinematically. November 1915 may be one of the most important months in the history of film, especially American film, so get ready for some pretty interesting entries.
World War I:
The Fourth Battle of the Isonzo between Italian and Austrian forces begins November 10 with an attack by the Italian 2nd Army. The Italians gain some ground, but not their ultimate objectives, while the Austrians are forced to request help from their German allies, not officially at war with Italy at this time.
Also on November 10, the Central Powers initiate the Battle of Kosovo, pushing the Serbians back to Albania.
Labor activist and early member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW or “Wobblies”), Joe Hill is executed on November 19, for a murder he likely didn’t commit. His final letter to fellow organizer Bill Haywood states, “Don’t waste any time in mourning. Organize.”
On Thanksgiving Night, November 24, William J Simmons and fifteen charter members re-found the Ku Klux Klan atop Stone Mountain in Georgia. This tiny group would be the nucleus of a powerful political movement to re-claim control of American society by native-born white, protestant men.
Albert Einstein first presents his General Theory of Relativity to the Prussian Academy of Sciences on November 25.
The Triangle Film Corporation built and opened a theater in Massillon, Ohio on November 23. This theater is still standing, and is believed to be the oldest purpose-built movie theater still in operation today.
Several important films were released this month, including:
“Carmen” by Raoul Walsh, starring Theda Bara.
“Carmen” by Cecil B. DeMille, starring Geraldine Farrar. Both “Carmens” are released Nov 1.
“The Lamb” first starring role for Douglas Fairbanks receives its nationwide release Nov 7.
“Madame Butterfly” directed by Sidney Olcott and starring Mary Pickford is released Nov 7.
“The Raven” starring Henry B. Walthall as Edgar Allen Poe is released Nov 8.
The episodes “The Severed Head” and “The Deadly Ring” of the serial “Les Vampires” by Louis Feuillade are both released Nov 13.
“Inspiration” (Nov 18), which included total female nudity (note that “Hypocrites” also did so, much earlier in the year).
“A Night in the Show” (Nov 20), this would be the last un-cut movie Charlie Chaplin did at Essanay Studios before leaving for Mutual (“Burlesque on Carmen” was released in a mutilated form by the studio and not restored for many years).
“Martyrs of the Alamo” (Nov 21), produced by D.W. Griffith, directed by Christy Cabanne.
Whew! film fans must have had really full calendars this month!