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The Musketeers of Pig Alley (October 31, 1912)

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The Musketeers of Pig Alley
 

Released on October 31, 1912: The first motion picture big city gangster story, filmed with real New York City gang members as extras.

Produced by D.W. Griffith

Directed by D.W. Griffith

The Actors: Elmer Booth (Snapper Kid, Musketeers gang leader), Lillian Gish (the little lady), Clara T. Bracy (the little lady's mother), Harry Carey (Snapper's side-kick), Lionel Barrymore (the musician's friend), Walter Miller (the musician), Alfred Paget (rival gang leader), John T. Dillon (policeman), Madge Kirby (the little lady's friend), Robert Harron (rival gang member), W.C. Robinson (rival gang member), Adolph Lestina (the bartender), Jack Pickford (rival gang member), Gertrude Bambrick (girl at dance), Kathleen Butler (girl on street and at the dance), Christy Cabanne (boy at the dance), Donald Crisp (rival gang member), Frank Evans (at the dance), Dorothy Gish (frizzy haired woman on the street), Walter P. Lewis (in the alley and at the dance), Antonio Moreno (Musketeers gang member), Marie Newton (at the dance), J. Waltham (in the alley)

 
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The First Gangster Movie

In 1912 motion pictures were still very young, and while pictures were moving, preserving the sounds of voices and music was still a thing of laboratory experiments. This 16 minute adventure is the very first big city gangster story ever filmed, without any of the big name actors who would make gangsters famous a few years later. That is not to say that there were no famous actors in the story . . . Just no famous leading characters except for young Lillian Gish. This was her seventh movie short in a career that would span 75 years, and in these early years of silent movies her fame would only be exceeded by Mary Pickford. Along with Ms. Gish, sharp eyes can spot a tall, lanky 24 year old gangster buddy of the main gangsgter who would be remembered long after most of the other characters were forgotten . . . Legendary actor Harry Carey. Even sharper eyes may recognize the tall fellow carrying the violin case who chats with the musician who was robbed . . . He is also 24 years old as this was filmed, and Lionel Barrymore would go on to become one of the big screen's most recognized and loved characters for the next 45 years. Noted future movie director Christy Cabanne is also present at the gangster's dance in Pig Alley. As our adventure opens the young musician is telling his wife that he must go across town to perform at an event that will bring them some badly needed cash, and off he goes, kissing his aged mother-in-law on the forehead before going out the door. Lillian Gish, the young wife, packs up a bundle of laundry and heads out to the laundry shop nearby, and while she is gone her elderly mother has an attack and dies. Meanwhile her hubby returns from his music gig with a wallet full of money and he is mugged by gangster Snapper Kid and his side-kick Harry Carey. He tells his wife that he is going to Pig Alley and the bar that empties into the alley and look for the gangster who took his money, and while he is out Lillian Gish's girlfriend comes and takes her to a dance in the dance hall next to Pig Alley where she meets another gangster who buys her drinks in the bar. When the gangster who mugged her husband earlier sees Lillian Gish he decides that he wants her, and after a wild shootout in the ally with the other gangsters he makes his way to her apartment. During the shoot-out in the alley her husband is standing in a doorway and our mugging gangster backs into him. The musician recognizes the gangster that stole his wallet and he reaches into the gangster's jacket and takes back his wallet. The musician is not home long with his wallet full of money before the gangster appears at the door seeking the pretty young girl that he saw in Pig Alley. The gangster soon discovers that she is married, and reluctantly goes away, heading out into the alley . . . . That is when the cop shows up and nabs the gangster and then . . . . Pop a little bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter drizzled over it and enjoy the first motion picture gangster movie.

Alfred Paget, Lillian Gish and Elmer Booth
Alfred Paget, Lillian Gish and Elmer Booth
Alfred Paget and Lillian Gish
Alfred Paget and Lillian Gish
Alfred Paget
Alfred Paget
Clara T. Bracy
Clara T. Bracy
Elmer Booth and Harry Carey
Elmer Booth and Harry Carey
Elmer Booth and John T. Dillon
Elmer Booth and John T. Dillon
Harry Carey and Elmer Booth
Harry Carey and Elmer Booth
Lillian Gish and Walter Miller
Lillian Gish and Walter Miller
Walter Miller, Lillian Gish and Elmer Booth
Walter Miller, Lillian Gish and Elmer Booth
Walter Miller, Lillian Gish and Elmer Booth
Walter Miller, Lillian Gish and Elmer Booth
Walter Miller, Lillian Gish and Elmer Booth and John T. Dillon
Walter Miller, Lillian Gish and Elmer Booth and John T. Dillon
Walter Miller, Lillian Gish and Elmer Booth
Walter Miller, Lillian Gish and Elmer Booth
Walter Miller and Lionel Barrymore
Walter Miller and Lionel Barrymore
Walter Miller sees Elmer Booth
Walter Miller sees Elmer Booth
Walter Miller
Walter Miller