J. Searle Dawley

James Searle Dawley (often only J. Searle Dawley, born May 13, 1877 in Del Norte, Colorado; † 30 March 1949 in Hollywood, California ) was an American film director and screenwriter. He saw himself as "the first professional film director ."


James Searle Dawley grew up in Denver and worked from 1895 to 1907 at various theater companies as an actor, writer and manager. In May 1907 he was engaged Edwin S. Porter for his direction of The Nine Lives of a Cat in the Edison Company. Dawley here should only monitor the performance of the actors and control the continuity of action. Because these tasks were previously taken with the camera work by a person who is Dawley view, to have been the first professional film director, not outlandish.

Dawley initially worked as Porter's assistant, but quickly took over alone to work on films. 1908 he directed Rescued from an Eagle 's Nest, in the Henry B. Walthall and David Wark Griffith had her film debut. 1910 Dawley went to the American West Coast and established Edison's Californian studio Balboa in Long Beach, where, among others, Henry King and William Desmond Taylor were hired as directors. James Searle Dawley created the first Frankenstein film for Edison in 1910. Along with Porter he signed in 1912 a contract with Adolph Zukors Famous Players, for which he only produced 14 films. After each year's work for his own production company Dyreda and Metro Pictures in 1915, he went back to Famous Players - Lasky, where he turned in 1916, the first full-length film version of Snow White and 1918, a version of Uncle Tom 's Cabin. Between 1918 and 1921 James Searle Dawley was working freelance, after which he worked until 1923 for Fox film.

After his retirement from the film industry Dawley worked from the late 1920s to mid 1930s while still new medium of radio.