MUSIDORA

1889-1957, actor, director, France

* = director; § = scriptwriter; # = producer; () = actor; ¤ = editor

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Women Film Pioneers Project

Film Directors Site

Project Muse

Silent London

Les Vampires, Musidora and the Vamp World

Silents are entertaining too

Strange flowers

Enciclopedia del Cinema

Un certain regard

Radio interview in 1948 (in French)

Celtic

Daily Motion

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Musidora – Video-art by Isabel Pérez del Pulgar

FILMS
Only extant films are listed for acting.

1914
Severo Torelli () – *Louis Feuillade

1915-16
Les Vampires (Irma Vep) – *Louis Feuillade
First episode (of ten)

Le pied qui étreint () – *Jacques Feyder
Lagourdette Gentleman Cambrioleur () – *Louis Feuillade

1917
Judex () – *Louis Feuillade
Flicker Alley DVD

Le reveil de l’artiste () – *Louis Feuillade
*La vagabonde

1918
co-*co-#§La flamme cachée ()

1919 
co-*co-#§Vicenta ()

1920
*Pour Don Carlos – () co-* Jacque Lasseyne

1922
*Sol y sombra – () co-* Jacque Lasseyne

1924
*§#¤La tierra de los toros ()

1951
co-*co-#§La magique image ()

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THEDA BARA

1885-1955, actor, US
Included here because she was the original vamp, influencing countless films and characters

The Theda Bara Experience – at this spontaneous site there is links list

Tart City

Theda Bara – another site

The Guardian

The Hairpin

Jewish Virtual Library

Jewish Women’s Archive

Silent Star of May 1996

Kiss me my fool

brandypurdy

MetaFilter

Silence is platinum

wikiFeet

Silent Hollywood

Stanford

Eve Golden’s book at amazon

The woman with the hungry eyes – *Hugh Munro Neely
– a featurelength documentary, not available everywhere

There are a number of video tributes to Bara and there seems to be no point in listing them all since they probably re-use the same material. Just a couple:

Theda Bara (stills to music)

Theda Bara (stills and posters to music with information on the titles)

FILMS
* = director; most of her films have vanished, only films available on the internet are listed

1915
A fool there was – 2nd, *Frank Powell

1917
Cleopatra
– a clip, looks like it is all that survived
speaking on the film on radio in 1936
love song on the Nile

1924
Unchastened woman – *James Young – excerpt

1925
Madame Mystery – *Richard Wallace, *Stan Laurel
– it was originally a two-reeler, five for foreign release, this is either an excerpt or possibly all that’s left of the film

RUTH ANN BALDWIN

1886 – 19??, director, writer, US

Women Film Pioneers Project

Pulp Serenade

The Bioscope – films by early US woman directors available on DVD

Picture History

Guide to the Silent Years of American Cinema

Film Reference – women in Westerns

General Information
Women make movies

Women behind the camera

FILMS
* = director; § = writer (not complete)

1913
§The werewolf – short, 1st

1915
*The black page –  short
*§The double deal in the par – short
*§An arrangement with fate – short

1916
*§The recoiling vengeance

1917
*§The butterfly
*§Is money all?
*§It makes a difference
*The black mantilla
*When Liz lets loose
*§The woman who could not pay
*§The rented man
*§Storm women

*’49-’17 – western melodrama, this seems to be the only extant film
Kino Lorber – DVD
DVD Talk

*A wife on trial – Pollyanna romance
*Three women of France
*§Twixt love and desire – short
*?The girl who married

1918
*The mother’s call

1919
*§Broken commandments

1920
*§The Devil’s ripple

1921
*§The marriage of William Ashe
*§Puppets of fate

CAMERAWOMEN

Of all the professions involved in making a movie, the cameraman’s has been the most elusive to women.

ROSINA CIANELLI
film photographer, Brazil

According to Guiness Film Facts & Feats she was the 1st woman cinematographer in the world. Except for one film nothing more seems to be known about her.

FILM
1915
Uma transformista original – directed by Paolo Benedetti

GRACE DAVISON
actor, producer, film photographer, US

According to the same source she was the 1st US woman cinematographer, but don’t look for her in that capacity on the IMDb.
There are no dates for the films by Cianelli and Davison and since they all were made in 1915 either of them could be the 1st in world.

Netplaces

FILMS
For films acted in see IMDb

1915
The Honeymooners – photographer
Spring Onions – photographer

1918
Wives of men – Grace Davison Productions

DOROTHY DUNN
news reel photographer, US

According to Guiness she was the only one.

The Dope Sheet

The Dope Sheet has a special category on the Newsreel era, with several links to excerpts.

FILMS

1917
Universal Animated Weekly

OTHERS
This is were it gets complicated. Believe it or not there were no directors at the beginning of the movies. Usually it was the cameraman who called the shots. So it is more than likely that Alice Guy and other pioneer women handled the camera themselves.
The three women mentioned by Guiness could well be the first camerawomen after the introduction of the director.

But, there is more. In the programme notes to the 2002 Pordenone film festival David Robinson writes:
The wife of the director G A Smith, LAURA EUGENIA BAYLEY, was one of four talented sisters – the others were Eva, Blance and Florence – who were active in the theatrical life of Brighton. All the sisters seem to have worked in Smith’s films, and Laura certainly also directed some pictures and is said to have been involved in making cameras.

Tom Ruffles

The Bioscope

It looks like Mrs Cecil Hepworth also might have helped her husband with the film making. Who knows how many wives to pioneering film makers are waiting to come out from the shadows of their men.

ETHYLE BATLEY

1897 – 1917, director, England

Project Muse

Women and Silent British Cinema

IMDb

FILMS
all shorts, all directed by EB (except the two acted in)
() = actor, § = writer

1912
Peggy Becomes a Boy Scout – 1st film directed by a woman in England
Through the Flames
Peggy Gets Rid of the Baby

1913
Deceiving Uncle
Peggy as Peacemaker
The Little Mother
The Two Father Christmasses
The Artist and His Model
There Is Good in the Worst of Us

1914
Retribution
Three Little Orphans
Saved by a Dream
Mary’s New Blouse
Out of Evil Cometh Good
Uncle Maxim’s Will
The Drawn Blind
The Old Old Story
The Hairpin Trail
The Girl Boy Scout
One Shall Be Taken
Answering the Call
The Fulfilment of the Law
S.O.S.
Red Cross Pluck
Love at the Circus
A Little Child Shall Lead Them
Peggy’s New Papa
The midnight wedding ()
The King’s romance ()

1915
The Brothers
The Woman Pays
To Save Her Life
His Mother’s Sacrifice
Nobody’s Child
Remember Belgium
The Pressure of the Poster
One Honest Man
Deliver the Goods
War Is Hell
Instruments of Fate
A Justifiable Deception
The Man Who Went
§His Better Lesson
Belinda and the Eggs
The Ear-Ring
The Bargee’s Daughter
Falsely Accused
A Tragic Mistake
The Hatton Garden Robbery
The Affair at No. 26
Nursery Rhymes
Those Children!
The Lie That Became the Truth
Bulldog Grit

1916
Folks of the Fair
The Great Red War
The Forgery of the One Pound Note
Keep the Home Fires Burning
Into the Light
The Rival Captains – Wikipedia
The Black Circle Gang
Perkin’s Pheasants
England’s Future Safeguard
A Higher Power
The Finger of Suspicion
A Little Bootblack
The Initial Brooch
Saving Bill

JAKIDAWDRA MELFORD

1888 – 1986, actor, director, prodcuer, England

Until now I believed J Melford to be the first woman film director in England (according to the Guiness Film Facts and Feats). But so invisible is the history of women in film that they missed the 66 films (1912-1916) of Ethyle Bayley, I will cover her next.

The Bioscope

The Bioscope

Women and Silent British Cinema

Women Film Pioneers Project

More pioneering women from the British early film

FILMS
all shorts, all produced by her and acted in
* = director, § = writer

1912
The Land of the Nursery Rhymes
The Herncrake Witch – recently discovered, described as an excerpt, but probably close to complete

1914
*§The Inn on the Heath

HELEN GIBSON

1892 – 1977, actor, stunt woman, US

Wikipedia

Silent Hollywood

Classic Flix

Who in the Hell?

Silent Hall of Fame

Oregon Movies

DVD at amazon

Fearless Helen

Helen Gibson Award

FILMS
() = actor

183 acting credits according to IMDb.
Only the stunt work.is listed below, but she most likely made her own stunts in other films.

1914
The Hazards of Helen () 1st professional stunt woman
Episode 13: The escape of the fast freight
Episode 26: The wild engine

1917
The Daughter of daring ()

1931
The Lightning Warrior ()
excerpt 6.0

1935
Gun Play ()

1937
Jungle Jim ()
1st of 12 chapters