Dear Silent Hall of Fame Users:

    You have come to this website, because you like silent films and silent movie stars.  There are many places like this.  But unlike other sites, here at Silent Hall of Fame you can make a real difference.  You can help us show for the first time many films featuring your favorite silent stars that have not been seen in generations.  This will bring their names back into the public discourse.  But you can do much more than that: you can help your favorite silent stars receive belated recognition and glory.

    Until now there has never been an organization with the purpose to place a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for movie personalities from a century ago.  Silent Hall of Fame is this historic organization.  Silent Hall of Fame is the only organization of its kind.  We will make history and we invite you to become a part of history by sponsoring a silent movie star for the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  All contributions are tax deductible.

   Please use this button for a one-time donation. Use the button on the right-hand side for a recurring donation.

 

Rare Gems on DVD

    Our users have spoken, and we have listened. You want to see rare and hard to find films, and we have created for you the Silent Gems Collection, available on eBay. This DVD collection includes rare and for the first time available films with our stars, as well as other silent masterpieces. These are high quality films that are hard to find anywhere else. Please click on this link to see the collection: Silent Gems Collection

    This announcement, as well as the link, are approved by Google AdWords for Nonprofits. See also the Footnote at the bottom of this page.

Important Update:
You don't have to leave our website in order to obtain the films from our Silent Gems Collection. These gems are now available to our users as a reward for donation. For details click here.

 2 Out Yonder 191915 That Model from Paris 192621 For Better  for Worse 191924 The Woman God Forgot 19173 Dorothy Vernon of Haddon Hall 1924

 

OUR DOCUMENTARY

    We are proud to present to all silent film lovers our multiple award-winning documentary! In March 2015 it won the distinction "Award of Merit" at the San Francisco Film Awards. In May it won the Silver Award at the 2015 International Independent Film Awards. In September 2015 it won the Award of Recognition at the Accolade Global Film Competition. Of equal merit is the inclusion of the documentary in the Official Selection of the San Jose International Short Film Festival in October 2015. In December the documentary won the extremely prestigious Diamond Award at the 2015 California Film Awards. The amazing run of recognition for our documentary continued in 2016. In February it was included in the Official Selection of the Buffalo Niagara International Film Festival.

 Accolade Global Film Competition AwardSan Jose International Short Film FestivalCalifornia Film Awards smallSan Francisco Film AwardsInternational Independent Film Awards

Billy Bitzer with a straw hat and a cigar

  Billy Bitzer with a straw hat and a cigar

 

Silent Hall of Fame is looking for contributors to create an original biography for this star.


Gottfried Wilhelm "Billy" Bitzer
(April 21, 1874 - April 29, 1944) was a pioneering cinematographer notable for his close association with D. W. Griffith.

Bitzer provided assistance during Griffith's directorial debut, 1908's The Adventures of Dollie, which was shot by Arthur Marvin. He eventually succeeded Marvin as Griffith's regular cinematographer, working with him on some of his most important films and contributing significantly to cinematic innovations attributed to Griffith.

In 1910, he photographed Griffith's silent short, In Old California, in the Los Angeles village of "Hollywoodland", qualifying Bitzer as, arguably, Hollywood's first Director of Photography.

In 2003, a survey conducted by the International Cinematographers Guild named him one of the ten most influential cinematographers in history.  Bitzer, it is said, "developed camera techniques that set the standard for all future motion pictures."

Among Bitzer's innovations were

    the fade out to close a movie scene;
    the iris shot where a circle closes to close a scene;
    soft focus photography with the aid of a light diffusion screen;
    filming entirely under artificial lighting rather than outside;
    lighting, closeups and long shots to create mood;
    perfection of matte photography.

Prior to his career as a cameraman, Bitzer developed early cinematic technologies for the American Mutoscope Company, eventually to become the Biograph Company. He admired and learned the art of motion picture photography from Kinetoscope inventor W.K.L. Dickson, who directed the early Biograph shorts on which Bitzer cut his teeth. Until 1903, Bitzer was employed by Biograph primarily as a documentary photographer, and from 1903 onward primarily as the photographer of narrative films, as these gained popularity. (Hendricks 1964, pp. 5)

In 1908 Bitzer entered into his first collaboration with Griffith. The two would work together for the rest of Bitzer's career, leaving Biograph in 1913 for the Mutual Film Corporation where Bitzer continued to innovate, perfecting existing technologies and inventing new ones. During this time he pioneered the field of matte photography and made use of innovative lighting techniques, closeups, and iris shots.

The apex of Bitzer and Griffith's collaboration came with The Birth of a Nation (1915), a film funded in part by Bitzer's life savings, and the epic Intolerance (1916).

For all his innovation, Bitzer did not survive the industry's transition to sound, and in 1944 he suffered a heart attack and died in Hollywood in relative obscurity.

His autobiography, Billy Bitzer: His Story, was published posthumously in 1973.

From Wikipedia

Click to enlarge

 

Selected Filmography

 

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