Harold M. Shaw

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(b. Brownsville, Tennessee, 03/11/1877 – d. Los Angeles, 30/01/1926). Harold Marvin Shaw was an American-born filmmaker who started his career as an actor with the Edison Company and directed a few shorts for them. Then worked for Carl Laemmle’s Independent Moving Pictures Company and produced a number of animal pictures for the World's Best Film Company in Florida before moving to England to join the newly formed London Film Company. Here he became a resident director and was responsible for The House of Temperley (1913), the first film to have been produced on the site of what was to become Twickenham Studios. A prolific filmmaker, he made many shorts and a number of features for LFC, including a version of Trilby (1914) that starred Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree as Svengali.

In April 1916 it was announced that he would be joining African Film Productions to direct what was to become a major epic, De Voortrekkers, also known as Winning a Continent (1916). Prior to this he had adapted Charlotte Mansfield’s novel Gloria for fellow director Lorimer Johnston. His next project was supposed to be The Symbol of Sacrifice, but by that time Shaw had fallen out with AFP’s I.W. Schlesinger and set up his own company in Sea Point, Cape Town. Joining him in this venture were Ernest G. Palmer, Henry Howse and Ralph Kimpton, all formerly employed by AFP. Their first film was The Rose of Rhodesia (1918), which was released by Fisher’s Bioscope, Schlesinger’s arch rival. At least partly because the Schlesinger-owned S.A. Pictorial did not give it any publicity, the film was not a commercial success and after producing the comedy Thoroughbreds All (1918), Shaw returned to England.

Initially he went back to the LFC and then worked for Stoll Picture Productions, directing such features as Kipps (1921) and The Wheels of Chance (1922), both based on novels by H.G. Wells. Prior to this he had shot The Land of Mystery (1920) in war-ravaged Lithuania, apparently at the suggestion of the Director of Intelligence at the Home Office. In 1922 he returned to the United States and directed a few features for the Metro Pictures Corporation, one of them starring his sister-in-law, Viola Dana. His last film, A Fool's Awakening (1924), included Lorimer Johnston in the cast. He died in a car accident in 1926. At the time he was the Secretary of the Motion Pictures Directors Association. Many of his films starred his wife, actress Edna Flugrath, whom he had met when they were both with the Edison Company and who had followed him to England. They were married in Johannesburg after the completion of De Voortrekkers. (FO)


Gutsche, Thelma - The history and social significance of motion pictures in South Africa 1895-1940

Le Roux, André I. & Fourie, Lilla – Filmverlede: geskiedenis van die Suid-Afrikaanse speelfilm




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