From 1896 to 1920 she directed 400 films (including over 100 synchronized sound films), produced hundreds more, and was the first - and so far the only - woman to own and run her own studio plant (The Solax Studio in Fort Lee, NJ, 1910-1914). However, her role in film history was completely forgotten until her memoirs were published in 1976. This book tells her life story and fills in many gaps left by the memoirs. Guy Blach's life and career mirrored momentous changes in the film industry, and the long time-span and sheer volume of her output makes her films a fertile territory for the application of new theories of cinema history, the development of film narrative, and feminist film theory. The book provides a close analysis of the one hundred Guy Blach films that survive, and in the process rewrites early cinema history.
Alison McMahan is a Mellon Fellow in Visual Culture at Vassar College. From 1997 to 2001 she ran the MA program in film and television studies at the University of Amsterdam, where she taught early cinema and new media. She has published widely on early cinema and has carried out research for documentaries such as The Lost Garden: The Life and Work of Alice Guy Blache (1995, National Film Board of Canada) and for the Emmy-award winning Into the Light ('State of the Arts' series, New Jersey Network, 1995). She was interviewed as an early cinema expert for the documentary Reel Models: The Women of Early Film which first aired on the American Movie Classics Channel in 2000.