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Thomas  H.  Ince
[1882-1924]

portrait of studio head Thomas H. Ince in 1915               short profile

works about Thomas Ince

selected films

Ince Studios

other works by Thomas Ince

family & friends

links

Thomas Ince is known as the 'father of the Western movie', and is considered the inventor
of the studio system – the fully developed (written) scenario; the 'star' system; budgets;
sharp editing of the final film; and authentic sets, costumes & locations.


     B I O
     h e r e

Thomas Harper Ince [1882-1924]
Star on the Walk of Fame
Thomas Ince's 'Dias Dorados' estate in Benedict Canyon built c. 1924, torn down in 1940s
Château Élysée built by Elinor Ince, now Scientology's Celebrity Centre building

Thomas H. Ince entry at Wikipedia
Thomas H. Ince credits [1905-25] at Internet Movie Database



Works About Thomas Ince

"The Ince Affair" [1978] by Joe Morella & Edward Z. Epstein
Signet mass pb [6/78] out of print/rare

"The House That Ince Built" [1980] by Dennis Lee Daggett
Great Western Publng pb [1980] out of print/used

Hearst & Davies Affair TV movie starring Robert Mitchum  "The Hearst and Davies Affair" [A.B.C. TV movie Jan 1985]
"America's Royal Scandal" Partly filmed at the Hearst Castle; although newspaper tycoon William Randolph 'W.R.' Hearst was married, he did not hide his long-term affair with actress Marion Davies, which began around 1918 and lasted until his death in August 1951. Directed by David Lowell Rich; starring Robert Mitchum (as W.R.), Virginia Madsen, Fritz Weaver, Doris Belack, Laura Henry, Frances Hyland, Caroline Yeager, Lorne Kennedy (as Charlie Chaplin), George Touliatos, Wayne Best & Kimble Hall (as Ince)
DVD not available; A.B.C. color VHS [6/93] out of prodn/used
full credits from IMDb
Murder At San Simeon mystery novel by Patty Hearst  "Murder At San Simeon: A Novel of Suspense" [1996]
by Patricia Hearst & Cordelia Frances Biddle

A young woman is surprised when given the task of sprinkling her mother's ashes at the Hearst estate, San Simeon. While there, she overhears gossip that her grandmother – one-time personal assistant to actress Marion Davies (mistress to married tycoon Wm. Randolph Hearst) – was involved in the mysterious death of Thomas Ince during a yacht party hosted by Hearst, so she sets out to clear her grandmother's name.
Pocket mass pb [12/97] out of print/many used
Scribner hardcover [9/96] out of print/many used

Cat's Meow movie directed by Peter Bogdanovich  "The Cat's Meow" [Lionsgate April 2002]
A version of events on Wm. Randolph Hearst's yacht Oneida, during a star-studded party off the coast of California in November 1924, and the possible connection to the death of studio head Thomas Ince; real-life passengers included Hearst, his girlfriend actress Marion Davies, Charlie Chaplin, Ince, actress Margaret Livingston, columnist Louella Parsons, author Elinor Glyn and others. Directed by Peter Bogdanovich; script by Steven Peros, based on his stage play; starring Cary Elwes {as Ince}, Kirsten Dunst, Edward Herrmann, Eddie Izzard, Joanna Lumley, Jennifer Tilly, Claudia Harrison, Victor Slezak & James Laurenson
Lionsgate widescreen color DVD [9/2003] for $12.99
Vidmark/Trimark color VHS [8/2002] out of prodn/used
R.C.A. soundtrack CD [4/2002] out of prodn/used
full credits from IMDb
Thomas Ince, Independent Pioneer biography by Brian Taves  
"Thomas Ince: Hollywood's Independent Pioneer" [2011]  
by Brian Taves

Univ Press of Kentucky hardcover [DUE Dec 2011] for $34.81
publisher's book page


Selected Films
Thomas H. Ince credits [1905-25] - over 200 entries! - at Internet Movie Database
browse Thomas Ince on DVDs at Amazon

Civil War Silents  "Civil War Films of The Silent Era" [2000]
Image Ent. b&w DVD [12/2000] for $22.99
Image Ent. b&w VHS [12/2000] for $17.98
includes three films from Thomas Ince: "The Coward" [1915 feature] & two
nickelodeon films "Drummer of The Eighth" [1913] & "Grand-Dad" [1913]

more Civil War films at Magic Lantern's War Movie Film Festival

·            ·

Movies at I.M.P., 1911
In December 1910, Carl Laemmle signed Mary Pickford to his Independent Motion Picture Company. Because
of the Edison Trust monopoly, director Thomas Ince and Pickford's entourage – mother Charlotte, sister Lottie,
brother Jack, and new husband Owen Moore – embarked for Cuba and made 39 mostly-unimpressive films there.

I.M.P. films of Mary Pickford & Thomas Ince


"War On The Plains"
[Bison/NYMPC Feb 1912 short]
Box-office hit produced, co-written & directed by Thomas Ince; starring Francis Ford; full credits at IMDb

"The Indian Massacre" aka "The Heart of An Indian"
[Bison/NYMPC March 1912 short]
Produced, written & directed by Thomas Ince; starring Francis Ford; full credits at IMDb

"Custer's Last Fight"
[Bison/NYMPC Oct 1912 short]
Box-office hit produced by Thomas Ince; directed by & starring Francis Ford; full credits at IMDb

"The Invaders" [Kay-Bee Nov 1912 short]
Produced & co-directed by Thomas Ince; co-directed by & starring Francis Ford; full credits at IMDb
available on "More Treasures From American Film Archives": Image Ent. DVD set [9/2004] 3 disks & book for $71.99

"The Counterfeiter" [1913 short]
Starring Florence Lawrence & William Desmond Taylor; full credits at IMDb

"Drummer of The Eighth"
[Mutual May 1913 short]
Produced & directed by Thomas Ince; full credits at IMDb
available on the "Civil War Silents" DVD: Image Ent. b&w DVD [12/2000] for $22.99

"The Battle of Gettysburg" feature film
[Mutual/NYMPC June 1913 epic]
All five reels believed lost; produced & co-directed by Thomas Ince; Wikipediafull credits at IMDb

"Grand-Dad" [Mutual July 1913 short]
Produced & directed by Thomas Ince; starring William Desmond Taylor; full credits at IMDb
available on the "Civil War Silents" DVD: Image Ent. b&w DVD [12/2000] for $22.99

"The Informer" [Mutual Jan 1914 short]
Directed by Raymond B. West; starring Herschel Mayall & William Desmond Taylor; full credits at IMDb

"Desert Gold" silent short [Kay-Bee/Mutual March 1914]
Adapted from the Frank Norris novel "McTeague" [1899]; a prospector finds a rich vein, then learns that his sweetheart
has married his former partner.
Produced & co-written by Thomas H. Ince; directed by Scott Sidney; starring Frank Borzage,
Charles Ray & Clara Williams • DVD/Blu-ray not available • credits at IMDb

"Last of The Line" [Mutual 1914 short]
with Sessue Hayakawa

"The Bargain" silent feature
[Paramount/NYMPC Dec 1914]
movie poster of "The Bargain" 1914 silent feature film starring William S. Hart  Bandit Jim Stokes robs the stage and is wounded fleeing; recuperating at a ranch, he falls in love with and marries the rancher's daughter. Now wishing to go straight, he tries to return the stolen money but is recog- nized and captured. The Sheriff then loses the recovered money at a crooked roulette table, and he and Stokes strike a bargain. Produced & co-written by Thomas Ince; co-written by William H. Clifford; directed by Reginald Barker; starring William S. Hart, J. Frank Burke, Clara Williams, J. Barney Sherry, Joseph J. Dowling & Fritz the Horse
Sinister Cinema b&w DVD [11/2008] for $11.95
full credits from IMDb

"The Italian"
[Kay-Bee/NYMPC Jan 1915 short]
Produced & co-written by Thomas Ince; directed by Reginald Barker • credits at IMDb

"In The Tennessee Hills"
[Kay-Bee/Mutual Feb 1915 short]
Produced by Thomas Ince; directed by James Vincent; starring Charles Ray & Enid Markey; full credits at IMDb
available on "Nickelodia 1": Unknown Video b&w DVD [7/2006] for $19.95

"The Coward"
[Kay-Bee/NYMPC Oct 1915 feature]
Produced, written & co-directed by Thomas Ince; co-directed by Reginald Barker; full credits at IMDb
available on the "Civil War Silents" DVD: Image Ent. b&w DVD [12/2000] for $22.99

"Civilization: An Epic of Humanity"
[Ince/Triangle June 1916 silent epic]
Civilization 1916 silent epic  A warrior king starts a war. A submarine commander refuses to torpedo a defense-less passenger ship; the submarine is sunk and the captain is drowned and enters the spirit world. Christ returns to earth in the captain's body and is put on trial for treason, but the magical figure then escorts the warrior king on a tour of the horrors of war to convince him to stop making war. Produced & co-directed by Thomas Ince; co-directed by Reginald Barker & others; starring Howard C. Hickman, Enid Markey, J. Frank Burke, George Fisher & Herschel Mayall; listed on National Film Registry (1999)
not available on DVD; Kino Video b&w VHS [6/2000] for $28.45
11"x17" poster from Amazon for $14.36
movie entry at Wikipediafull credits at IMDb

"The Gun Fighter" [Kay-Bee/NYMPC Feb 1917]
Produced by Thomas Ince; directed by & starring William S. Hart; also starring Margery
Wilson, Roy Laidlaw, Joseph J. Dowling, Milton Ross, J.P. Lockney & George Stone
video/DVD not available; credits at IMDb

"The Square Deal Man"
[Kay-Bee/NYMPC/Triangle May 1917]
The Square Deal Man 1917 movie poster starring William S. Hart  Gambler Jack decides to play one last game and then go straight. During the game, he is accused of cheating; the lights go out, shots are fired, and one of the players is found dead on the floor. Jack is accused of the killing; he didn't do it, so he must find the real killer and the reason that he was framed. Produced by Thomas Ince; directed by & starring William S. Hart; written by J.G. Hawks; with Mary McIvor, Joseph J. Dowling, Mary Jane Irving, J. Frank Burke, Darrell Foss, Kisaburo Kurihara, Milton Ross & Charles O. Rush
Sinister Cinema b&w DVD [11/2008] for $11.95
full credits from IMDb

"Wolf Lowry" [Kay-Bee/Triangle May 1917]
Produced by Thomas Ince; directed by & starring William S. Hart; full credits at IMDb

"The Cold Deck" [Kay-Bee/NYMPC/Triangle Sept 1917]
The Cold Deck 1917 movie poster starring William S. Hart   Produced by Thomas Ince; directed by & starring William S. Hart; written by J.G.
Hawks; also starring Mildred Harris, Edwin Wallock, Sylvia Breamer, Charles O. Rush,
Alma Rubens & Joe Knight; video/DVD not available; full credits from IMDb

"The Silent Man" [Ince/Hart Nov 1917 feature]
The Silent Man silent Western starring William S. Hart  A gambler in the desert town of Bakeoven robs a prospector of his gold dust and his mine deed, so the man turns outlaw to get them back. Co-produced by Thomas Ince; co-produced & directed by & starring William S. Hart; with Vola Vale & Robert McKim
Sinister Cinema b&w DVD [5/2008] for $8.37
Unknown Video b&w VHS [3/98] out of prodn/scarce
full credits from IMDb

"Wolves of The Rail"
[Hart/Famous Players-Lasky Jan 1918]
Co-produced by Thomas Ince; co-produced & directed by & starring William S. Hart; with Vola Vale,
C. Norman Hammond, William Elmer, Melbourne MacDowell & Kisaburo Kurihara; full credits at IMDb

"Blue Blazes Rawden"
[Hart/Artcraft/Paramount Feb 1918]
Blue Blazes Rawden 1918 silent feature starring William S. Hart   A lumberjack in the North woods competes for the affections of a dance hall girl aganst her crooked boss. The crook gets killed, and when the man's mother and brother arrive in town, the lumberjack spreads the story that the crook died a natural death. When the brother learns the truth, he comes gunning for the lumberjack. Co-produced by Thomas Ince; co-produced & directed by & starring William S. Hart; written by J.G. Hawks; also starring Maude George, Robert McKim, Gertrude Claire, Robert Gordon & Jack Hoxie
Sinister Cinema b&w DVD [5/2008] for $8.37
full credits from IMDb

"Riddle Gawne" [Hart/Paramount Aug 1918]
Co-produced by Thomas Ince; co-produced & co-directed by & starring William S. Hart; co-directed by Lambert Hillyer;
also starring Katherine MacDonald, Lon Chaney, Gretchen Lederer & Gertrude Short; full credits at IMDb
the only surviving reel is available as part of the DVD of "Suzanna" [1922] starring Mabel Normand

"Quicksand" [Ince/Paramount Dec 1918 feature]
Quicksand movie poster   "Certainly, this is no place for a good girl. Least of all when her husband is away. Yet she's a wife any man might be proud of. See and judge for yourself." Produced by Thomas Ince; directed by Victor Schertzinger; starring Dorothy Dalton, Henry A. Barrows, Edward Coxen, Frankie Lee & Philo McCullough
video/DVD not available; full credits from IMDb

"The Busher" [Ince/Paramount May 1919]
still photo from "The Busher" [1919 silent feature]   A young baseball pitcher in the bush leagues is discovered by a team manager and given his chance in the major leagues. He returns home in disgrace, but winning a local game provides a second chance. Produced by Thomas Ince; directed by Jerome Storm; starring Charles Ray, Colleen Moore, John Gilbert, Jay Morley & Otto Hoffman
Kino Video DVD set [4/2007] 2 disks for $26.99
full credits from IMDb
DVD also includes Babe Ruth starring in "Headin' Home" [1920 feature] and a dozen shorts

"Square Deal Sanderson" silent feature
[Hart/Artcraft/Famous Players-Lasky June 1919]
Square Deal Sanderson 1919 silent movie starring William S. Hart   Co-produced by Thomas Ince; co-produced & co-directed by & starring William S. Hart; co-directed by Lambert Hillyer; also starring Ann Little, Frank Whitson, Lloyd Bacon, Edwin Wallock, Tom O'Brien & Andrew Robson
video/DVD not available; full credits from IMDb

"Wagon Tracks"
[Hart/Artcraft/Paramount July 1919 feature]
Wagon Tracks movie poster starring William S. Hart   The leader of a wagon train to the West believes that the man who murdered his brother is among the people in his care. Co-produced by Thomas Ince; co-produced by & starring William S. Hart; directed by Lambert Hillyer; also starring Jane Novak, Robert McKim, Lloyd Bacon & Leo Pierson
Unknown Video b&w DVD [11/2004] for $19.95
full credits from IMDb
DVD also includes 'Broncho Billy' Anderson in "Naked Hands" [1918 two-reel short]

"Lorna Doone" [Ince/First National Oct 1922 feature]
Lorna Doone silent movie poster  Based on R.D. Blackmore's 1869 novel. Farmer John Ridd, whose father was murdered by the Doone clan, falls in love with a girl being forced to marry the ruthless new head of the Doone clan. He helps her escape; she discovers that she is not a Doone but rather the heiress to a fortune and must appear before King Charles in London. The king dies and the Doones pick the wrong side in the battle for the throne. The new King James grants John a title when he saves the patriarch of Lorna's new family (making it possible now to marry Lorna). The Doone clan is wiped out, except Carver, who swears revenge ... Co-produced by Thomas Ince; co-produced & directed by Maurice Tourneur; starring Madge Bellamy, John Bowers & Donald MacDonald
Kino Video DVD [9/2005] for $26.99
11"x17" poster from Amazon for $14.99
full credits from IMDbmovie entry at Wikipedia

"Human Wreckage" [Ince/F.B.O. June 1923]
Human Wreckage anti-drug movie by Dorothy Davenport Reid   When actor Wallace Reid died of morphine addiction, his widow Dorothy Davenport made this film to warn the public of the evils of drug addiction, then traveled the country in 'roadshow' fashion to exhibit the film. No prints are known to exist, considered a lost film. An attorney gets a young dope addict acquitted, but then becomes addicted himself and his pushers blackmail him to free other addicts. The young acquitted boy is now driving a taxi, and after he hears about the attorney's dilemma, and then discovers that his passenger is head of the dope ring, the boy drives the taxi head-on into a train, killing them both. The attorney gets treated for his addiction and then battles for stronger laws against addictive drugs. Co-produced by Thomas Ince & Dorothy Davenport; directed by John Griffith Wray; starring James Kirkwood, Bessie Love, Dorothy Davenport, George Hackathorne & Claire McDowell; full credits at IMDbmovie entry at Wikipedia

"Anna  Christie"  [Ince/First National Nov 1923]
poster for Ince's 1923 "Anna Christie" silent feature  The title character, raised in far Minnesota, returns to live with her fisherman father. A shipwrecked Scottish seaman falls in love with her, but she resists her attraction to him. The father tries to stop the romance, and the girl resents the men's assumed control over her life. She reveals the tragic events of the past 15 years; the men react, followed by a kind of forgiveness. Produced & co-directed by Thomas H. Ince; co-directed by John Griffith Wray; based on the 1921 play by Eugene O'Neill [1888-1953]; starring Blanche Sweet, William Russell, George F. Marion, Eugenie Besserer, Ralph Yearsley & Chester Conklin
video/DVD not available; full credits from IMDbmovie entry at Wikipedia

"Enticement"  [Ince/First National March 1925]
A romance set in the French Alps. Released after producer Ince's death; directed by George Archainbaud;
adapted by Bradley King from the 1924 novel by Clive Arden; starring Mary Astor, Clive Brook and Ian Keith
video/DVD not available; credits from IMDb


The Ince Studios

Inceville Studios in Santa Ynez Canyon, looking west circa 1918 (where the western end of Sunset Blvd. is today)
"Inceville Studios" [est. 1911]
Ince leased an 18,000-acre ranch north of Santa Monica, California (and south of Malibu), and in 1912
built many false-front sets to use in his films. The area was called Santa Ynez Canyon, and is now part of
the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of the City of Los Angeles. After Ince built his studio in Culver City,
he sold Inceville to William S. Hart (who renamed it Hartville); three years later, Hart sold the lot to
Robertson-Cole, which continued filming there until 1922.

article on Inceville (8/2007) in the Palisades Post newspaper

the colonnade main entrance of Triangle Studios at 10202 Washington Blvd. in Culver City, California (circa 1930)
"Triangle Studios" [est. 1915] in Culver City, California
Founded in 1915 by Harry and Roy Aitken, with partners D.W. Griffith, Thomas H. Ince, and Mack Sennett. (Whether the name is based on the three producer partners or on the triangular shape of the property is unclear.) Stars on contract included Mary Pickford, Lillian Gish, Roscoe 'Fatty' Arbuckle, and Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. Successful at first, the studio was failing in 1917, and sold to Sam Goldwyn in 1918. Goldwyn was forced out, the company merged with Marcus Loew's Metro Pictures [circa 1922], and then was taken over by Louis B. Mayer in 1924 and renamed Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. M.G.M. went thru a series of sales in the 1970s & 1980s – the props and equipment were auctioned off in 1970, and lots 2-6 were sold for redevelopment. Lorimar bought the main lot in 1986 and M.G.M. moved off the property. Sony Pictures bought the property in 1989.
Triangle Films entry at Wikipedia
Ince-Triangle-M.G.M.-Sony Studios history page on Culver City website

color postcard of Thomas Ince Studios at 9336 Washington Blvd. in Culver City, California (circa 1920)
"Thomas Ince Studios" [est. 1918] in Culver City, California

Original 14-acre Ince Studios property built in Culver City, California in 1918; became DeMille Studios in 1925; became R.K.O. in 1928, R.K.O. Pathé in 1930; the '40-Acres Backlot' was built circa 1931; became David O. Selznick / Selznick International in 1935; became Desilu in 1956; sold to Laird International in 1977, who turned the backlot into an industrial park; named Culver Studios since 1970.

The Culver Studios official website
Ince-R.K.O.-Selznick-Desilu Studios history page on Culver City website
'40 Acres' Backlot [1931-1976] fansite at RetroWeb

"A Tour of The Thomas Ince Studio" documentary short [A.F.N.P. 1924]
26-minute b&w silent film directed by Hunt Stromberg; featuring Thomas Ince, Richard Ince, Thomas H.
Ince Jr., Elinor Kershaw Ince, Enid Bennett, Hobart Bosworth & Ralph Dixon • prints exist • credits at IMDb

Dreams For Sale / Triangle Film Corp. book by Kalton C. Lahue  
"Dreams For Sale: The Rise & Fall of The Triangle Film
Corporation" [1971] by Kalton C. Lahue

A.S. Barnes hardcover [1971] out of print/many used
Movie Studios of Culver City book by Julie Lugo Cerra & Marc Wanamaker  "Movie Studios of Culver City (Images of America)" [2011]
by Julie Lugo Cerra & Marc Wanamaker

Arcadia Publng 9¼x6½ pb [3/2011] for $14.95


Other Works by Thomas Ince

Thomas Ince acting credits [1902-06] at Internet Broadway Database

text of Ince's 'autobiography' from the Los Angeles Record newspaper
(December 1924) from ASU Taylorology 8/2000


Family & Friends

wife Elinor 'Nell' Kershaw Ince [1884-1971] married 1907, widowed 1924
son Thomas H. Ince, Jr. [1912-70]
son Richard Ince [1915-??]


L i n k s
Thomas H. Ince entry at Wikipedia
Thomas H. Ince credits [1905-25] at Internet Movie Database

a version of Ince's death at truTV
Thomas Ince entry at Film Reference website
Ince photos archive at AMPAS Margaret Herrick Library

text of Ince's 'autobiography' from the Los Angeles Record newspaper
(December 1924) from ASU Taylorology 8/2000



Online sales in association with  browse Thomas Ince on DVDs at Amazon

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