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100 years ago today, despite what it says in this ad from the 24-January-1914 Moving Picture World, The Squaw Man premiered. This feature was the first production of the Jesse L Lasky Feature Play Company, and the first movie directed by famous director Cecil B DeMille. As the ad says, DeMille had a co-director: "The six reels of quivering action and cyclonic climaxes are now being produced in the exact locale of the play by Cecil B. DeMille and Oscar Apfel." The Jesse L Lasky Feature Play Company, a precursor to Paramount, had the humble slogan "But one production a month -- and that a masterpiece."
This item, from the 31-January-1914 Moving Picture World, purports to show "one of the first 'stills' sent East from the Jesse L. Lasky studio at Hollywood, California."
This ad, from the 07-February-1914 Moving Picture World, touts:
-- America's Most Gripping Drama
-- The Stage's Most Popular Actor
-- The Best Cast Ever Assembled
-- Staged By Two Master Craftsmen
-- Produced by the World's Most Artistic Producer
"Every Detail Spells Class"
"The Pulsing Achievement of Dramatic Art." From the 14-February-1914 Moving Picture World. Note the lists of sold and still-unsold territories.
One of the distributors from the previous ad, took its own ad in the same issue. The William L Sherry Feature Film Company had secured the New York State rights to The Squaw Man and other production of the Jesse L Lasky Feature Play Company, along with the Famous Players Film Company, another predecessor of Paramount.
Louis Reeves Harrison wrote a review of the movie in the 21-February-1914 Moving Picture World. I don't think DeMille would have appreciated this: "I have not seen Oscar Apfel's name made prominent in connection with this winner, but I recognize his handiwork without difficulty. Cecil DeMille, I am told, put his heart and soul into making 'The Squaw Man' an unqualified success, but his unbounded enthusiasm could only act as a support to the unhampered skill and decided native ability of the active director."
The same issue carried an ad saying that "Jesse L. Lasky presented Edward Milton Royle's thrilling western drama The Squaw Man with Dustin Farnum in the title role at the Long Acre Theatre last Tuesday before 1400 persons and the expressions of of the auditors as they left the theatre substantiated every word of praise we have lavished upon this superb production."
A two-page spread from the 07-March-1914 Moving Picture World shows that only four territories were still unsold. It quotes critical praise from newspapers, magazines, including Louis Reeves Harrison's review from above, and Variety.
The cover of the 28-March-1914 Moving Picture World featured The Squaw Man.
An ad from the same edition talks about the Jesse L Lasky Feature Play Company's next production, Brewster's Millions, a story which has been remade many times. DeMille remade The Squaw Man twice, once as a silent and once as a talkie. It mentions that Brewster's Millions will be directed by DeMille ("Master Playwright, Director and Author of Numerous Dramatic Successes") and Apfel ("Acknowledged Peer of Directors and Genius of Innovators").